ST. LOUIS—Musicians Joan Witte and her husband, Michael Witte, saw Shen Yun Performing Arts, lauded as world leader of classical Chinese dance, at the Peabody Opera House on Feb. 16.
Mrs. Witte plays the piano, organ, harp and church organ, while her husband, now retired, spent more than 26 years playing clarinet in a military band.
Mrs. Witte was struck by the hundreds of handmade costumes.
“The costumes were beautiful, I really enjoyed it,” she said, especially noting the female dancers “with sleeves that were twirling. I think that was really just beautiful to watch.”
Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, and every detail is given meticulous attention, according to the Shen Yun website. “The designers stress harmonic balance and contrast. Their objective is an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect,” the website says.
As for Mr. Witte, he was so impressed with the Shen Yun Orchestra, he was rendered speechless, said his wife, laughing.
“I thought it was great,” he said.
But he gathered his thoughts, intrigued by Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art graphics technology.
“I think the three dimensional video was neat the way it tossed out the dancers and bounced back in … .”
To clarify, the animated characters descend from the screen, precisely as the dancers appear on stage and like magic, disappear off stage only to reappear on screen again, in animated form.
China’s legendary heroes and myths portrayed on stage were also somewhat of a mystery to Mr. Witte, but after seeing Shen Yun he acknowledged the spirituality imbued within each story.
“Whether set in the past or in contemporary China, every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated. Heroes are extolled for their compassion and tolerance as much as their courage or determination when facing adversity,” explains the website.
Reporting by Catherine Wen 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.