“The hand motions with the lilies, the lily pads, and then with the snow flakes, the farmers, the colorful outfits, the culture, everything was just astounding, and so well choreographed.” enthused Donna Sylvestri, owner of Madison Home Management.
Shen Yun’s revival of traditional Chinese culture—a culture 5,000 years old and thought to be divinely inspired—includes classical Chinese dance, with the performers adorned in colorful, handcrafted regalia, and accompanied by a unique orchestra and digitally-animated backdrops.
“The screen and the way it was juxtaposed together with all the events, and then bringing on the live people, it was so colorful,” said Ms. Sylvestri.
State-of-the-art technology enables the backdrops to become “magical windows to completely different realms,” according to the company’s website. ” From vast open grasslands in one dance to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilions in another; from dusty yellow battlegrounds to tropical beaches to Himalayan peaks to picturesque scenery of the Yellow River Delta—the digital projection infinitely expands and transforms the stage.”
Many dances stood out to Ms. Sylvestri, including the dances Snowflakes Welcoming Spring, Lotus Leaves, and the folk dance Happiness in the Huai Valley.
Because of communist rule in China, the traditional culture was “all but demolished,” and also currently prevents Shen Yun from traveling to China, according to the company’s website. “It is outside of China that Shen Yun’s artistic creators have the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture. Their courage to speak up is an integral part of Shen Yun’s spirit.”
Ms. Sylvestri said she didn’t realize the current situation that precludes cultural and other oppression in China.
“I think that is a shame, that is just a crime,” she said. “I just wish that could happen. I mean, imagine not being able to do those beautiful things in your own country. I think that is really a sad thing.”
Dancer Experiences Shen Yun
Barbara Ruchames, researcher and dancer, was also in the audience on Sunday.
“The colors and the backdrop, everything is just spectacular,” said Barbara Ruchames, researcher and dancer. “I think they did a wonderful job.”
Classical Chinese dance is at the heart of a Shen Yun performance, according to the company’s website. It “is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world,” with high levels of training in movements, postures, and other techniques involved.
The male and female dancers “both were wonderful,” said Ms. Ruchames. “The male dancers and what they were able to do with their bodies was amazing,” she added.
Touring the world, including stops at top venues across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, Shen Yun’s mission is not only “reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture,” it also includes bringing back the culture’s imbued principles, such as benevolence, wisdom, and honor, “as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens,” explains its website.
Ms. Ruchames enjoyed the history involved in the performance and found it “very upbeat.”
“Very lovely,” she added. “It was beautiful.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Tracey Zhu, 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 and April 27.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.