Shen Yun Performing Arts: The Gift of Heritage

By Mary Silver, Epoch Times
December 27, 2013 Updated: December 27, 2013

ATLANTA—Georgia must occupy a special place in the hearts of Shen Yun artists. The Chinese classical dance company and orchestra have visited Atlanta every year since their debut in 2006. Atlanta has shared the Shen Yun experience with Paris, London, Milan, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, where the company performs at the Kennedy Center each year.

Artists, philanthropists, scholars, business leaders, and others have praised Shen Yun Performing Arts. Donna Karan, the creator of DKNY, hosted a party for Shen Yun after a June 23, 2011, performance at Lincoln Center in New York.

Many of those seeing the performance speak of the haunting quality, the beauty, and the energy of Shen Yun.

Ms. Karan, who also founded of the Urban Zen charity initiative, said, “What I loved about the show was the authenticity of it. It was taking me on a journey to the many aspects of China.”

Shen Yun artists intend to revive the true, traditional Chinese culture, long suppressed under communist rule.

Ms. Karan also noted an auspicious harmony within the performance. “When I saw the dance and the beauty of the synergy and the movement, there was not a singular person,” she said. “It moved in unison, which was so beautiful.”

The voices were extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary, and so were the dances, but what I loved the most was that—even in the costumes—[they] were all in one,” Ms. Karan said.

“I love the Asian aspect of the grounding, and seeing [that] their energy was completely aligned was beautiful,” she said.

Classical Chinese dance is a vast system with hundreds of movements, intricate poses, and a deeply expressive quality. The performers of Shen Yun bring the dance a step closer to its roots, holding the belief that in order to create true art, there must first be inner beauty, according to the company’s website.

Each large company of dancers travels with a full classical orchestra. The orchestra is unique because it includes traditional Chinese instruments, which usually carry the melodies.

Lynne Flater, who plays violin in the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, said, “I love the music. It was absolutely beautiful. And it was wonderful to see such a robust orchestra pit, so the violins had a lot to play,” she said at the sold-out Jan. 27, 2012, performance at Cobb Energy Centre, in Atlanta.

On the same night, audience members shouted “bravo!’ and “brava!” during a long standing ovation.

“As an old professional dancer, I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Sally Haushalter, former ballerina, executive, and native Atlantan. She smiled and said, “I am loving the colors.” Her sister had treated her to tickets to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Shen Yun tickets make wonderful gifts, and this year’s performance run falls during the holiday season, when students are home from college. Spending money on others and on experiences, rather than things, can boost happiness.

Shen Yun offers stories from ancient and modern Chinese history, legends, visions of different dynasties and magical realms, songs, and Chinese dance—classical, folk, and ethnic dance.

The artists of Shen Yun are based in New York. They “draw their inspiration from China’s 5,000 years of civilization,” according to the program. They “believe this rich heritage is a precious gift worth keeping, and worth sharing with all of you.”

Share the gift of Shen Yun this season. From Dec. 27 through December 29, there will be five performances at the Cobb Energy Centre.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

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.