Arts & Culture

Shen Yun ‘A very creative and incredible performance’

BY Leigh Smith TIMEJanuary 29, 2010 PRINT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Mr. Koch, a retired businessman, and his wife, a retired lawyer, saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center on Friday Jan. 29. This was the final performance in St. Petersburg before the New York-based company travels to Jacksonville to perform on Jan. 30 and 31.

Mr. and Mrs. Koch, who live part of the year in California and the other part in Florida, were both enthralled by the Shen Yun experience. According to Shen Yun's website, its rich repertoire breaks new ground by focusing on the authentic cultural heritage of classical China while also giving artistic treatment to the world around us.

Mr. Koch said, “It's excellent. The dancers are wonderful. The music is beautiful. It all fits together so nicely."

“Very vibrant”, Mrs. Koch added, “I like the way that they tell stories and they dance with the stories, and it's just a very creative and incredible performance.”

Mrs. Koch appreciated the emcees giving an introduction to each performance, she said, “The little stories that they tell us at the beginning," she said. "It's very important that they have a little story before—so we understand better.

“I like the flowers, the silken flowers. And I like the story of the man who went in and killed the lion.”

“The tiger,” her husband corrected, referring to the dance Wu Song Battles the Tiger, a folk tale from China. A heroic figure embarks on a quest to kill a man-eating tiger in the forest, after seeing a grieving widow and child.

Mrs. Koch thought the dance Tibetan Dance of Praise was “fantastic." In this dance male and female dancers wear the garb of Tibetan nobility and, according to the Shen Yun website, dance is as much a part of daily life as herding, hunting, or devotional prayers.

Music is an integral part of the Shen Yun performance which features a live orchestra. The orchestra combines classical Western with traditional Chinese instruments and accompanies each dance.

“I think the dancing and music are very nice," Mr. Koch continued, “The music and the dancing paints a very nice picture together.

“The Mongolian [dance]—Oh, that was beautiful! Yes, that was beautiful at the end with the big circles with the dresses. It was very, very lovely.” He was speaking about the dance, Mongolian Hospitality, where the performers don Mongolian garb and use dinner plates and rings to create music while dancing.

“It's a wonderful production, so we're thoroughly enjoying it," Mr. Koch said.

Mrs. Koch added, “It's very creative and very organized. And they, the dancers are in incredible shape, and everything seems … very smooth—very enjoyable."

The handmade silk costumes create a remarkable visual experience on stage and Mrs. Koch thought the costumes were “fantastic.”

Mr. Koch was moved by the performance depicting the present day persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Falun Gong is a peaceful meditation practice. He said, "The Falun Gong story was interesting.”

Summing up he added, “They were all very good stories, we enjoyed them all.”

With reporting by Fany Qiu.

Shen Yun Performing Arts now travel to Jacksonville for two shows on Jan. 30 and 31, at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

  For more information, please visit

Leigh Smith
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