NEW YORK—It was difficult finding tickets for the closing performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Jan. 16. The performing arts company, which is now continuing on its tour, was well received, with a standing ovation and two curtain calls from the sold-out house.
“I was very proud to participate in the audience and to stand up and shout ‘encore!’” said author Judith Difonzo.
“I thought the performances were beautiful, I thought the colors were beautiful, I thought the dances were gorgeous. I was enthralled. I would come back again,” she said.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has set out to rekindle the traditional cultural heritage of China through the performing arts. The various dances, stories, and music pieces performed by the company carry elements that shine light into the inner meaning and principles that guided China’s civilization through its 5,000 years of history.
Being based in New York, the company is able to present these cultural elements, and yet is banned from performing in Mainland China by the ruling communist regime.
“This performance, Shen Yun, is a tribute to the Chinese people—their stamina, their convictions, and their unwillingness to let go—to remind people that they still exist and they want their homeland back,” Mrs. Difonzo said.
“I was enchanted, and then my heart was invigorated with life. I want to stand up like they did, and like they’re doing now, and saying to China, ‘we are Chinese and we will never give up our homeland,’ she said.
“At the same time, I saw something that I’ve never seen before—the history of China done in an art performance. It was beautiful. It was heavenly,” she added.
Through the expressive art of classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun performs dances portraying a variety of themes and time-periods, ranging from the Great Qin dynasty and its Terracotta warriors, to the colorful dances of its various ethnic groups such as the Yi. It also includes tales from classic Chinese novels such as “Journey to the West” and “Outlaws of the Marsh.”
As a recent widow, Mrs. Difonzo said “I was surprised that it took my mind away and into a place that I hadn’t been for a long time—into a place of joy, a place of hope, a place where I could dream.”
“I love the scenery in the background, it was heavenly … It was gorgeous,” she said.
A fashion entrepreneur, Gabrielle Difonzo, Mrs. Difonzo’s daughter, said of the performance: “I thought it was wonderful.”
She appreciated the costumes, noting those used in a dance titled Min Nan Grace as well as the costumes worn by the male dancers in general.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company wrapped up its two-week run at Lincoln Center today, Jan. 16, in a sold-out matinee performance. The company will now travel to Schenectady, NY, to perform at Proctors Theatre on Jan. 19, and then continue its tour to perform at The Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington D.C., Jan. 26-30.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.