NEW YORK—Jeff Lapes, a hip-hop dancer, said the dancing in Shen Yun Performing Arts was incredibly complex yet still accessible to different audience members.
“It was just very creative as to how they worked in such unison—and it was very in sync, that it made everyone feel that they could understand it,” he said. “It was simple yet very intricate, which was very amazing.”
At the heart of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, which was “passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
“Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.”
Mr. Lapes has trained in multiple styles of dance since he was eight years old, toured and choreographed for Radio Disney singer Larry Laboe, and performed with the New Jersey Nets dance team. He’s worked with Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, and Lil’ Mama, and has appeared on MTV and CBS.
Mr. Lapes said the dance techniques in Shen Yun were “almost unbelievable,” with so many different steps and movements involved.
“From a scale of 1 to 10, I mean it’s a 10 for sure, because there’s so many different aspects involved in that dance,” he said. “It’s a lot to try to grasp, honestly.”
Besides training in fundamentals, classical Chinese dance entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“And so, alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world,” it says.
The dancers also perform ethnic and folk dance, as well as story-based dance. Adorned in handmade costumes, a digital backdrop and an orchestra that melds both classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments.
Mr. Lapes said Shen Yun’s revival of Chinese culture was colorful, vibrant, and full of life, and was glad to attend the performance.
“We don’t really get the Chinese culture as much as we’d like to, and it’s pushing it forward,” he said. “It’s highly impressive to us, honestly, because we do something completely different. It was a great show.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is performing at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 28.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.