NEW YORK—The artistic prowess of Shen Yun Performing Arts got jazz musician Gene Ghee thinking about how he could use some of the techniques he saw in his music.
“I liked the combination of the Chinese instruments with the orchestra,” Mr. Ghee said. “I was thinking, too, how I could incorporate some of that into what I do?”
Accompanying the dancers is the Shen Yun Orchestra, which melds traditional Chinese instruments, such as the 4,000-year-old erhu, or two-stringed Chinese violin, with classical Western instruments.
The blend of the visuals—including colorful costumes and digital backdrops—appealed to Mr. Ghee, who appreciated the interaction between the dancers and the visual elements.
Shen Yun, based in New York, presents the ancient and divinely-inspired Chinese culture through the vast library of legends and myths within the culture.
“Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “A unique feature of Chinese civilization is that its history has been documented and passed down uninterrupted for 5,000 years, sometimes in vivid detail. This provides Shen Yun with vast source material, making it possible to revive this ancient culture on a present-day stage.”
His wife, I’link Ghee, a former dancer and dance instructor, said that she also appreciated the performance, and particularly the dancers.
“They’re phenomenal,” she said. “Their technique, their costumes, their form, their timing.”
Classical Chinese dance, a dance system that spans back nearly as long as the culture itself, is at the heart of Shen Yun, along with ethnic and folk dance, and story-based dance.
“China’s deep cultural traditions are contained in classical Chinese dance, allowing its movements to be richly expressive, such that the personalities and feelings of characters can be portrayed with unparalleled clarity,” according to Shen Yun’s website. “It is therefore capable of depicting scenes from any time period, whether ancient or modern, Eastern or Western, in a strikingly vivid way.”
As a former dancer, Mrs. Ghee said she saw that the expression of the Chinese culture coming through the dancers was discipline.
“They were in unison with each other, and to do those lines—the way they were moving—you really have to have your timing together and the technique and form,” she said.
Reporting by Joshua Philipp 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
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.