NEW YORK—Taking its inspiration from thousands of years of Chinese civilization, Shen Yun Performing Arts enchanted those who saw it on Wednesday at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.
Shen Yun’s music greatly impressed Liz Colin, a publisher of music books, who called the music “absolutely outstanding” and the overall performance a “tremendous cultural and learning experience.”
“The performance was amazing,” Ms. Colin added. “I would recommend it very highly to people of all walks of life and all cultures.”
Shen Yun seeks to revive China’s traditional culture, which the company says is inspired from the divine and spans more than 5,000 years. A variety of means are used to express the inner meanings of this culture, including classical Chinese dance, a unique orchestra, and colorful, handcrafted costumes.
“I’d love to see it again and again. I appreciate all the hard work that the group has done and I welcome this chance to share my feelings with them and wish them all the luck,” Ms. Colin said.
Classical Chinese dance, the company says, is among the most comprehensive systems in the world, “embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.” It was passed down over the millenia in China’s royal court and later became systematized—its movements contain the essence of the country’s culture.
“I didn’t realize until tonight that the movements [expressed by Shen Yun’s dancers] are part of Chinese ancient culture,” she said.
Ms. Colin said she was amazed by the music in the performance. The company’s orchestra joins together Western and Chinese instruments. It uses a Western philharmonic orchestra as a foundation, while Chinese instruments, such as the 4,000 year-old erhu, or two-stringed Chinese violin, lead the melodies.
There are also several solo renowned singers who use the bel canto technique with Chinese lyrics and English subtitles. “The tenor [Huan Xing] and [the other] singers were absolutely outstanding,” Ms. Colin said.
“The depth of talent … was just really wonderful, and of course the technique was incredible,” she said.
Much of China’s culture was destroyed under six decades of communist rule and particularly during the Cultural Revolution that lasted from 1966 to 1976. Shen Yun was formed in 2006 and has toured in more than 100 cities around the world to restore the culture.
“I so hope and yearn for the Chinese people, that they can see their rights, and that there’s a future for the wonderful message that they’re (Shen Yun’s) trying to convey to everybody,” Ms. Colin said. “I hope that the future will be very bright for many generations.”
Shen Yun “is going to be the catalyst” for change in China, she added. “So may the word spread everywhere. And my heart’s really with you—[I’m] very proud to experience this tonight.”
The co-owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, Myra Manning, also attended Wednesday evening’s performance. “I thought it was magnificent; the colors the precision, the beauty of it is quite overwhelming,” said Ms. Manning.
She found the solo singers to posses “wonderful talent.”
“I would say,” she said, “if you have a chance, absolutely to go.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Jack Phillips.
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.