NEWARK, N.J.—“Wo ai Shen Yun,” meaning “I love Shen Yun,” said Tai Cooper, brimming with enthusiasm after seeing the traditional dance and music company at Prudential Hall in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Ms. Cooper, spokesperson and chief policy advisor to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, absolutely loved her first experience seeing New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts, and said the whole of it was brilliant.
“The history, the culture, the art, the [spirituality] behind it—it was spectacular!” she said on April 29.
Shen Yun often dazzles theatergoers with its costumes’ vibrant colors, its Chinese instruments like the soulful erhu and thunderous gong, and its ancient legends and modern stories brought to life through classical Chinese dance.
“I wish I could dance like that! The dancing’s amazing, just the artistry, just the flexibility, the craft, the precision. It was amazing, it really was,” Ms. Cooper said.
Shen Yun presents the world’s foremost classical Chinese dancers, trained in an art that developed over thousands of years and that leaves viewers amazed to see dancers float across the stage one moment, take on a character the next, and then perform a series of spins or aerial walkovers.
Supporting the story-based dances is a full orchestra that has both Western and Chinese instrumentalists as permanent members.
“The live orchestra was fantastic. I love the trumpet, the flute—Oh! and the sopranos! The soloists were divine, they were phenomenal,” Ms. Cooper said.
Sprinkled throughout the performance are solo pieces sung by vocalists specializing in the difficult bel canto style of singing while maintaining perfect Chinese diction.
Although sung in Chinese, the translated lyrics appear projected on the backdrop. These translations struck Ms. Cooper as profound. They talked about how we are slipping away from our humanity, she said, and that we need to come back to our true selves.
The philosophy of returning to one’s true self lies at the heart of Shen Yun. The company aims to bring authentic millennia-old beliefs and traditions back to life, returning to the divinely inspired culture that made China the Celestial Kingdom, as it once was called.
Whereas in the past humankind strove to find harmony with the heavens, today the situation is completely changed in China. Several of Shen Yun dances show that people of faith now suffer at the hands of the communist regime. Ms. Cooper felt the mission to hold fast, to peacefully advocate for these age-old spiritual ideals was beautiful.
For Ms. Cooper, this traditional culture is “something that should be integrated into all of society. I think it was amazing!”
“So I’m glad to be here,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski
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.
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.