GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Steve Secreast “liked the diversity of the different dynasties, the mix of modern and traditional, and some of the mythological tales, too. It was a very good mix,” he said, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company.
Shen Yun, which presents traditional Chinese culture, is on a mission to revitalize 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, principally through two kinds of dance: classical Chinese dance, which is a vehicle for presenting the history, legends, and myths of China; and folk dances, which highlight China’s many ethnicities.
Some of the “mix” is to what Mr. Secreast was referring.
The pharmaceutical research scientist for ZOTEIS, an animal health company, attended the production with his wife Margarita Pinto. As the company’s associate director for regulatory affairs concerning new products, Mrs. Pinto is in charge of Canada and Latin America.
Mrs. Pinto’s daughter, Ana Louisa, also attended the production at the DeVos Performance Hall on Tuesday night, Feb. 11.
“When I was little, my grandmother used to have a collection of Chinese fairy tales, so I was telling my daughter that most of the performances are based on tales and folkloric arts from China,” Mrs. Pinto said.
As far as the family’s general impression of New York-based Shen Yun: “We really love it,” Mrs. Pinto said. “We like the music. We like the performance, and the performers are very, very talented. The costumes are also very beautiful. To learn a little bit more about the Chinese culture is always very, very nice.”
Originally from Mexico City, Mrs. Pinto tried to see the performance there, but didn’t get the chance. When she and her family knew it would be in Grand Rapids, they took the opportunity.
Mrs. Pinto enjoyed the costumes and especially noted the dance that depicted lotus flowers: The dancers hold large fans, and when moving them in patterns, they appear to be flowers.
“I like the costumes—the combination of the colors,” Louisa said.
“Oh yeah!” Mrs. Pinto responded. “We were talking about that during the show, because for me, one of the combinations of colors I like the most is green and pink. And that was used a lot!”
Another element that left a deep impression on Mrs. Pinto was the digitally-animated backdrops: “We really enjoy how [Shen Yun’s] combining the traditional tales with the technology and how [the dancers] interact with that,” she said. “That makes the performance very, very rich, and that could be something that we will remember from what we just saw.”
Mr. Secreast was very surprised with how similar the creation story he saw in the performance mirrored that of Western stories. “I did not know about that background coming from China,” he said.
Perhaps what touched Mrs. Pinto the most, however, was the erhu player. “I just love the music,” she said. “I don’t remember the name of the two-stringed violin, but that is also something that, every time I hear it, I connect to that. And it makes me think about China. It’s really, really beautiful, and the way it’s used during the performances, it’s also very rich. For me, it’s the music.”
For Mr. Secreast it was how every story was full of hope: “There was always a hopeful ending. I liked that very much. Even when there were some bad times, there was always some hope at the end that things were going to be better.“
Mrs. Pinto thought it was nice to see this unique culture. “It comes from many, many thousands of years ago, so it’s something that is important to preserve and to keep alive,” she said.
Reporting by Joan Wang and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.