ST. LOUIS—”I keep seeing thousands of photographs going in front of me,” said Tom Rollins, a freelance photographer. “I certainly understand why it’s copyrighted; it’s just so gorgeous!”
Mr. Rollins was referring to the 20 mini-dramas told through dance presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts. Its depiction of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, takes audiences on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture, according to the company’s website.
“This is a great performance. This is our first time to see it and [we are] pretty excited,” Mr. Rollins said.
Tom Rollins is an award-winning photographer with seven books to his name. He’s worked on seven continents “for companies and organizations in the fields of maritime, steel, scrap metal, construction, travel, agriculture, wildlife and humanitarian causes,” according to his website.
He and his wife, Marian, brought their daughters and 10- and 13-year-old granddaughters to the Feb. 21 afternoon performance at the Peabody Opera House. Mr. Rollins wished they had “brought the boys because they would be impressed with the dancing,” he said.
The performers “are very talented,” said Mrs. Rollins. “The show was just beautiful, the costuming, everything is wonderful. We really like it.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revitalize traditional Chinese culture through Chinese dance, unique orchestral music, solo vocalists, and amazing costumes and animated backdrops.
“Classical Chinese dance has helped preserve 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Built on traditional aesthetics, it was once passed down among the people, in imperial courts, and through ancient plays … eventually developing into the distinctly Chinese dance form we know today,” states the Shen Yun website.
“The performance is wonderful, the movement, … I can’t believe the agility and the coordination. It’s just fabulous,” said Mr. Rollins.
Looking beyond the surface performance, Mrs. Rollins said, “It touches your heart; it’s very wonderful and beautiful. It touches the inner part of your heart.”
“The dancers are wonderful. They are full of agility and life and it just touches you,” she said.
She particularly enjoyed ethnic dances. Several of the dances take the audience to explore the “ethnic and folk cultures of China and her close borders such as the plains of Tibet, the shores of a Dai village, or the sprawling plains of Mongolia,” states the Shen Yun website.
In reflecting on his travels to Asian countries, Mr. Rollins said, ‘It is wonderful to see the artistic and cultural side [through Shen Yun that] I didn’t even understand was so well preserved here. That’s really great!”
Reporting by Helen Peng and Cat Rooney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006