NEW YORK—Shen Yun Performing Arts inspired decorative painter Nanette Baratta when she attended Friday evening’s full-house performance at Lincoln Center.
“It touches all of your emotions,” said Ms. Baratta. She described how from dance to dance, the tone changes from “very touching and powerful into something that is more light and comical.”
The New York-based company revives 5,000 years of Chinese civilization from comical legendary tales to scenes of modern tragedy.
The back flips and physical feats performed by the classical Chinese dancers impressed personal trainer and Director of Rooms Division at the Radisson Martinique Hotel on Broadway, Fatena Williams.
“It takes a lot of training to be able to perform that, a lot of self-discipline,” said Ms. Williams.
Ms. Williams said the dancers have “strong bodies, strong minds.”
Shen Yun’s program book explains that “more than just being accomplished artists, members of Shen Yun Performing Arts bring an unusual depth to their work. They take to heart an ancient Chinese belief: that to create true art, there must first be inner beauty. Many draw personal inspiration from the values inherent in traditional Chinese culture, and naturally bring a calm expressiveness and depth to their work.”
Geta Teodor, Ms. Williams’ colleague and guest relations director at the Radisson Hotel, appreciated the expressiveness in each gesture and movement.
She described her experience with Chinese people, “They are very profound people but they’re well disciplined that they really don’t like people to know their emotions … but in this show, you can see every single moment [that] they were basically trying to express to the public their feelings.”
Shen Yun features the world premier classical Chinese dancers. Classical Chinese dance is an ancient art form that includes three elements: form, bearing, and technique.
Form refers to “the hundreds of extremely intricate poses and movements that make up the vocabulary of the art form,” according to the Shen Yun website. The simplest bend of the torso or direction of the dancer’s gaze holds meaning and requires much coordination.
Bearing refers to the dancers’ “inner expression,” according to the website, and how it connects to their movements.
Technique refers to the flips, twists, and jumps praised by Ms. Williams.
“You can definitely see the [intensity], the dedication, and the focus throughout the dance; every movement is very well-planned out and you can see that,” she said.
“I was transformed totally,” said Ms. Teodor of her experience. She described how she let herself go and became immersed in the culture on stage. “It was really amazing show, very unique,” said Ms. Teodor.
Reporting by Alec Wang and Tara MacIsaac.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 22.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.