NEW YORK—Shen Yun Performing Arts brought inspiration to another audience at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City on the evening of April 21, the second day of an eight-day performance run.
“It was an exciting evening for us,” said Martina Dietrich, facilities manager for the German government, who attended Shen Yun with her husband Juergen Dietrich.
Mr. Dietrich, who is a city-employed attorney, praised the skill of the dancers and the music. He said, “It’s amazing because we’ve never seen such a performance in Germany.”
Linda Noskewicz, an organizational developer at a technology firm, said the New York-based Shen Yun is “a feast for the eyes.”
“Unbelievable, just truly unbelievable,” she said, adding that she loved the vocal performances of soprano Pi-ju Huang and tenor Yuan Qu.
A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“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.”
“I got a lot of joy from the dances, a lot of humor,” said Mrs. Noskewicz. “But mostly a lot of pride, and a lot of joy in the culture.”
Founded in 2006, Shen Yun now tours over 100 cities each year with three equally large companies. However, Shen Yun cannot be seen in China.
“In China they cannot live their culture. They live their culture outside of China only, and that makes me sad,” said Mrs. Dietrich.
“It’s beautiful, the culture is beautiful, and it’s spiritual. The Chinese spirit cannot live there. The spirit cannot be lived in China,” said Mrs. Dietrich.
She added that it is very moving to see Shen Yun Performing Arts’ dancers and musicians living in the United States and staying true to their roots. She felt it was also important that they have a right to say, “I have Chinese roots.”
“In the Chinese culture displayed by Shen Yun performers I saw traits like honor, which existed 5,000 years ago, but are still kept today,” commented Mrs. Dietrich. “These traits have to come out. You have to do a lot to create awareness of the culture, and that includes caring for it for the next generation,” she added.
The Chinese dance that Shen Yun excels at consists of classical Chinese dance, and Chinese ethnic and folk dance. The expressiveness of Chinese dance is used by the performance group to great effect to tell stories, such as Yang Zhi and His Sabre and When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor.
A digital backdrop filled with colorful scenes and vivid animation is used by Shen Yun to create surprising effects such as gods coming out of the river or sky and appearing on earth.
Commenting on this, Mrs. Noskewicz said, “I always thought that was inherent to Chinese history. I love the effects it had with the stories. She added, “I think the joy, the humor comes out in the stories with the deities.”
“The visuals are great,” said Elaine F. Godowsky, President of the Board of Trustees, George S. Flynn Concerts, a trust that provides classical music concerts for the benefit and education of people in Clinton, Connecticut. Ms. Godowsky saw Shen Yun perform on opening day, April 20.
“I love the illusions that they have the audience going into the screen. I think that is the most exciting for me,” said Ms. Godowsky, who is also a sculptor.
One story that particularly touched Mrs. Dietrich, she said, was at the end when gods and Buddhas came after an earthquake and showed how things can begin anew. For the people of China, living under the communist regime, it made her feel hope that one day China will be free, she said.
Mrs. Dietrich saw courage in Shen Yun. She noted that the performances illustrated what it means to be strong and kind to everybody.
By Tracey Zhu, Tian Cheng, and Ananda West
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is performing at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 28.
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.