NYC Parks Official Brings Family for Shen Yun Adventure

NEW YORK—Susan Donoghue, New York City Parks Department Senior Adviser and Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives, took her 9-year-old daughter to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on April 27.

“It was a really, really fun show and really exciting,” Bridget, Ms. Donoghue’s daughter, said excitedly. “I thought it was really beautiful the way they danced.”

The New York-based company brings 5,000 years of Chinese culture to the stage through story-based classical Chinese dance, as well as ethnic and folk dances representing some of China’s 55 diverse ethnic minorities.

“We just knew it would be beautiful and something Bridget would love,” said Ms. Donoghue, who was also accompanied by her mother, Peg Nayduch, a retired artist. “We thought that it would be a great adventure for all of us.”

The costumes delighted the family, as did the props used in the Chinese dance, such as the handkerchiefs in the dance titled “An Early Spring.”

The program describes “’An Early Spring:’ Dancers’ twirling handkerchiefs evoke the annual change of seasons in this vibrant northeastern folk dance. Light steps and quick turns combine to paint a lively picture with delightful surprises at every beat.”

Ms. Nayduch, who worked with a variety of mediums as an artist, including watercolors, said she was impressed by the color combinations. She also appreciated the design of the costumes.

Ms. Donoghue agreed: “I know, beautiful, the costumes were so gorgeous.”

The costumes are as diverse as the dances—from the long skirts with large, colorful bands of the Yi ethnic group, to the heavenly regalia of Buddhas and celestial fairies.

China’s ancient culture is held to be divinely inspired.

Shen Yun’s website explains: “This divine guidance lasted from the time of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors to the late Ming dynasty [which ended in 1644], spanning a period of 5,000 years. Though mortal couturiers did their best to mimic celestial apparel, they ultimately still pale in comparison.”

Ms. Donoghue said watching the heavenly beings dancing in the clouds was beautiful. Shen Yun features a digital backdrop that opens the stage to expansive scenes—the heavens, the Mongolian grasslands, ancient gardens, and more.

Ms. Nayduch commented on the movements of the dancers, “The way they walked, they were kind of floating.”

Classical Chinese dance formed over thousands of years. Its postures and movements are also imbued with the wisdom of the divine culture, explains Shen Yun’s website.

“It’s wonderful that they are trying to preserve and teach about the ancient traditions,” Ms. Donoghue said. She said she was impressed with the performance “visually, [with] the costumes, and how wonderful it was.”

Reporting by Huiwen Ji and Tara MacIsaac.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

Shen Yun’s New York Company will be performing 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.