Nashville Audience Blown Away by Shen Yun

February 25, 2014 Updated: February 28, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Joyce Valaitis and son-in-law Mark Thurber were at the Andrew Jackson Hall, Tennessee Performing Arts Center taking in Shen Yun Performing Arts on Feb. 23.

Ms. Valaitis thought the New York-based presentation of classical Chinese dance was “great, just beautiful,” she said. “They all did so well, I didn’t see any mistakes. It was beautiful, beautiful.”

“Reviving 5,000 years through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” Shen Yun website says. “Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.”

Ms. Valaitis wanted to see the Shen Yun performance the minute she saw the advertisement in the newspaper.

Her son-in-law, a project manager, was also impressed by a lot of different aspects Shen Yun had presented on stage.

The “orchestra was great, the colors were great, really appreciated the costumes and the colors,” Mr. Thurber said.

“Of course, the energy of the dancers, like that little shuffle thing they do … I’ll try to walk like that at home,” he said, chuckling.

“It was classy, very disciplined—you don’t see a lot of that in modern art. There was a definite classical tone to it. Very classical and proper.”

‘Everything came from classical Chinese dance’

Also in the audience was Sue Chasteen, retired executive director for the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology, an “advocate for the best possible eye health care for Tennesseans”, according to its website.

Ms. Chasteen loved the Shen Yun performance in all of its glory.

“I learned so many new things about China I never knew.” She never knew that dance she had seen elsewhere originated from Chinese dance.

“Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera,” the Shen Yun website says. “Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.”

“It’s wonderful! I loved the way they floated into the air and the ribbons were fantastic. I loved it.”

“I want to know more about the Chinese history. I have always been fascinated with China and I would love to travel there,” Ms. Chasteen said.

“A unique feature of Chinese civilization is that its history has been documented and passed down uninterrupted for 5,000 years, sometimes in vivid detail. This provides Shen Yun with vast source material, making it possible to revive this ancient culture on a present-day stage,” the Shen Yun website explains.

‘Extraordinary beauty of athleticism’

William Conway, a physician, was enjoying Shen Yun for the second time in two days.

He was overwhelmed by the “extraordinary beauty of athleticism,” he said. “I really had no idea that Chinese [dance] was equivalent to ballet, and I had no idea that Chinese culture had this degree of depth or charm.”

“Certainly the dance portrayed stories and gave insight into culture, which is rarely done and it is a work of astonishing beauty and astonishing joy,” he said.

Mr. Conway had seen ballet performances in London and New York and as far as Shen Yun is concerned, “It was just a work of extraordinary depth and profundity.”

“Certainly the opportunity to sit back and analyze the work, the animation was a technical feat of force and the coordination with the dancing was one-of-a-kind. I’ve never seen anything equivalent to that.”

Mr. Conway said the “sheer athleticism of the dancers”, and the capacity to tell a story and communicate a story to a Western audience, he thought was “extraordinarily well done.”

A religion major in college, Mr. Conway said the spiritual aspect of Chinese culture was admirably and elegantly portrayed, particularly in the opening and closing scenes.

“Certainly, the description of martial arts as being a spiritual form was extremely well done as well. I was just most impressed,” Mr. Conway said. “It was a work of great depth and profundity and it changed a level, significant in dance, and rarely seen.”

Reporting by Mary Silver, NTD Television 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.