Senior Banker Connects Spiritually With Shen Yun

April 22, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Rhonda Viapiano, senior private banker at JP Morgan after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Sunday. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
Rhonda Viapiano, senior private banker at JP Morgan after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Sunday. (Courtesy of NTD Television)

NEW YORK—Shen Yun Performing Arts’ visually exuberant aspects excite audience members across the globe; yet as with Rhonda Viapiano, senior private banker at JP Morgan, the spiritual elements seen through the revival of traditional Chinese culture may leave a greater impact. 

“I loved the show,” said Ms. Viapiano at Lincoln Center on Sunday. “I thought it was spectacular in terms of the athleticism of the dancers. Visually it was beautiful but the spirituality of the show really hit home. The dancers, you can see that it just comes from the heart.”

Classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive systems in existence, is complimented by vocalists, an orchestra that melds classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments, and digital backdrops.

The artists of Shen Yun, besides being just accomplished artists—many are winners of international dance and vocal competitions—”bring an unusual depth to their work,” explains Shen Yun’s program. “They take to heart an ancient Chinese belief: that to create true art, there must first be inner beauty.”

Ms. Viapiano received positive feelings from the performance.

“Incredibly uplifting,” she said. “Aside from the good and evil, and the spirituality of the show, I think that visually it’s just beautifully executed. The colors and the costuming and the synchronization of the dancers and the silk sleeves and the flower fairies and the lotus blossoms—it’s just visually appealing.”

Hundreds of “gorgeous, hand-made garments [that] span China’s dynasties, regions, and ethnic groups,” are a feature of Shen Yun that strikes audience members, says the company’s website.

For Ms. Viapiano, the cultural renaissance that is Shen Yun evoked contemplation.

China’s “got a huge, rich history,” she said. “Five thousand years and I think in my lifetime it’s just a small sliver of the history that’s happened, and actually what’s being lost through modernization of the Chinese culture today?

“Although I’m not as familiar with what’s happening in that regard in China today you can sense that through the people and the response of the audience that there truly is a love of the culture and a wish to have it returned back to its roots.” 

Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Upcoming performances in the United States include Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 24, and Columbus, Ohio on April 26-27.

For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.