Shen Yun a ‘Wonderful Story,’ Says Properties Investor

April 22, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015

NEW YORK—Shen Yun Performing Arts “harkens back to times when people had time to think, to reflect, to grow and develop spiritually, physically, mentally,” said Marilyn Neilson, after seeing its presentation on Sunday at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.

The properties investor continued, “I think that the world of today has forgotten the beauty of the past and the peace there is in beauty surrounding you, and humor, there is everything in it.”

Using classical Chinese dance as its means of conveying its message, Shen Yun places emphasis on reviving and spreading traditional Chinese culture, the company website says.

Ms. Neilson said for her the performance enabled one to see past the distractions of modern-day life. Shen Yun sends a message that “there is luster and a goal to achieve harmony in all,” she said, adding that in “today’s world of hurry,” there is little time for the uplifting of the soul.

The spirituality of the Chinese people—before it was quashed under six decades of communist rule—is on full display in Shen Yun, was heavily influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, says its website.

When the performance began with its signature drums, Ms. Neilson said she felt a “very beautiful rush of emotion.”

Overall, the performance provided a “wonderful story” and shows “diversification of elements of the people, throughout history or time,” she added.

While classical Chinese dance is primarily used in Shen Yun, the performers also draw on dances from different ethnic groups in China. Many of the pieces in Shen Yun are drawn from legends and stories passed down from antiquity, the website says.

“It brings to mind the essence of the Chinese being and soul, which is a wonderful thing to understand more completely. And the discipline, and the work they will do to achieve beauty,” Ms. Neilson said.

She was also impressed with Shen Yun’s use of hi-tech backdrops and costuming. The backdrops are digitally imposed and show colorful scenes from ancient China to modern times.

“The discipline of the dancers, the beautiful ethereal backdrops … transports you into another time,” she said. “Very beautiful.”

Reporting by Alec Wang and Jack Phillips.

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 and April 27.

For more information, visit