PITTSBURGH—Blown away by the Shen Yun Performing Arts presentation, Spanish guitarist John Maciejewski, especially enjoyed listening to the company’s ancient Chinese instruments.
He attended the performance, praised around the globe as the leading classical Chinese dance company, staged at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, on Feb. 20.
“I loved the performance tonight, and the two instruments–the two Chinese instruments that were featured, the pipa and erhu, wonderful expressive instruments, especially the erhu,” Mr. Maciejewski said.
“For two strings, that is such an expressive instrument … very unique.”
The erhu, is one of the most important Chinese instruments with a history of over 4,000 years. Though it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions, the Shen Yun website says.
Mr. Maciejewski also enjoyed the pipa, described by Shen Yun as a Chinese guitar with four strings.
“For thousands of years, the pipa, or Chinese lute, has reigned as the “king” of Chinese folk instruments. This plucked instrument is often found in the hands of heavenly maidens depicted in traditional paintings,” says the website.
Mr. Maciejewski considers himself a part-time local guitarist who not only plays Spanish flamenco but other styles too on his “guitar with six strings,” he said laughing. He also works as a customer services officer in the car industry.
“The whole orchestra was wonderful too, and the singers … and the one who was playing piano. They were all wonderful musicians too, as well as for the rest of the orchestra.”
Shen Yun is based in New York and was formed in 2005 to reawaken 5,000 years of Chinese culture desecrated under six decades of communist rule, the website says.
At the heart of the performance is classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive dance systems in existence.
Shen Yun’s website says that Chinese dance includes “combinations of leaps, turns, flips, spins, and other aerial and tumbling techniques.”
“The dancers were wonderful, so graceful and with the scarves that they were dancing with, it gave you just an expression,” Mr. Maciejewski said. “At times you were watching a dance and another time you were watching this, and they [had] created another world there.
“It was almost … you felt ethereal, like you were almost lifted above where you were.”
One of the highlights for Mr. Maciejewski was “when they visually created the … like a giant flower, like a lotus flower. That was beautiful.”
He said he would tell his friends Shen Yun “is a great opportunity to see some of the history of Chinese culture as well as the classical Chinese dance, the singing, and a kind of mixture of Western and Eastern influences there.”
Reporting by Frank Liang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.