ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—”I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as ‘wow!’ I didn’t expect traditional dance per se to have as much athleticism and power to it. I was very wowed by the power,” Laura Perez said.
Ms. Perez and her mother, Kim Hall-Perez, saw Shen Yun for the first time at the Mahaffey Theater on April 4.
The family owns Kim Hall’s School of Dance, in Brandon, Fla. In the family for 33 years, the studio offers instruction in classical ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary acrobatics, aerial cirque, and band martial arts.
“Absolutely loved it,” Ms. Hall-Perez said of the performance. She used to dance professionally but said she was too tall to be a ballerina.
“One thing that stood out to me tremendously was the synchronization all of the dancers.,” she said. “They were so, so together! Especially with such large groups, that’s so very difficult to maintain.”
‘The Wow Factor’
“All the performers performed from their heart, rather than just from their head … and that shone through. Of course, the graphics [animated digital backdrops] in the back add the ‘wow’ factor to it,” Ms. Hall-Perez said.
Her daughter, Laura Perez, who also teaches dance at the studio, said the performance was so much more than her expectations: “It was excellent! I am so, so glad that we came. I was very moved. At one point I almost had tears in my eyes because the passion of the performers was so beautiful.”
“I definitely am going to encourage all of my students to come see the show next year. It was inspiring, and creatively inspiring for me. I took a lot, as an artist, from the show by being exposed to a new art form that I’d never seen before, and a new form of dance,” Ms. Perez said.
‘Such a Privilege’
“The music was phenomenal,” Ms. Perez said. “It was such a privilege to have a live orchestra with the performance because that’s so rare, nowadays, and especially for it to be traditional music from China. That was amazing!”
The erhu solo was especially moving for her: “That was incredible. That felt like such a privilege to be able to hear that.”
“The erhu is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years,” the Shen Yun website states. “Though it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions.” The instrument is also “incredibly expressive, capable of imitating sounds from chirping birds to neighing horses.”
Ms. Perez said that the sopranos were “stunning, stunningly beautiful!” “To think that somebody can do that with their voice—so moving!” Ms. Perez said of the solo vocalists.
‘So Many Different Layers’
Shen Yun’s portrayal of traditional Chinese culture also struck a chord with Ms. Perez: “It’s beautiful. I feel like it’s sparked a fascination with Chinese culture for me. It’s just so vibrant and so stunning and has so many different layers—it’s very exciting!”
She said it’s a shame that Shen Yun cannot yet perform in China. “I think that art is something that should be available to everyone in the world, especially if it’s something that’s come from your country,” Ms. Perez said. “Art is for everyone. It’s a universal thing that connects all humans.”
For decades, the Chinese communist regime has tried to eradicate China’s traditional culture through campaigns like the Cultural Revolution. Its aim is to secure its power by replacing traditional beliefs and values with communist ideology.
Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company continues the Florida leg of its world tour this month with performances in Miami and West Palm Beach.
Reporting by Edie Bassen and Louise Rothman
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