GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, opened at the Devos Performance Hall on Feb. 11 to an appreciative audience.
Sitting in its midst was birthday girl Meridell Gracias a professor of nursing at Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University, and her husband, Dr. Vincente Gracias, a neurosurgeon.
“My husband brought me here because it’s my birthday today, and so he thought this would be a lovely way to celebrate … and it certainly is,” Mrs. Gracias said.
“It’s beautiful, very, very beautiful. We enjoy dance, we enjoy music. We enjoy theater, and this is a great combination of all of those, plus a little cross cultural experience, so it’s great.”
“Through the universal language of music and dance, New York based Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” according to the company website. “Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.”
Mrs. Garcia said she didn’t know much about Chinese culture, so for her the Shen Yun performance was “also educational and very interesting.”
But, for her husband, M.D. Diplomate American Board of Neurological Surgery, he said he had some knowledge of different cultures.
“I do like different cultures, whether it be Chinese, Indian or others. I think it’s wonderful that people get exposed to it,” Dr. Garcias said.
In fact, he thought the Shen Yun presentation of China’s rich divinely-inspired history was just a treat.
“We all have a lot of history and it’s wonderful to partake in other people’s history too,” Dr. Garcias said.
One other aspect that Mrs. Garcias found momentous was the number of Western families who had brought along their Chinese children, “obviously trying to expose [them] to their own culture. So I thought that very interesting and wonderful too,” she said.
“Integral to Shen Yun is its orchestra, which combines the beauty and distinctiveness of Chinese sounds with the power and precision of a Western ensemble”, the website espouses. A trio of vocalists sing Italian opera bel canto style with Chinese lyrics, but central to a performance is classical Chinese dance, “the most comprehensive dance system in existence,” the website says.
Dr. Garcias recommended the Shen Yun production to his colleagues before he came to the show, and will again after he leaves, he said.
“The music was wonderful. The singers were very good, the dancers were excellent, and I think overall it was a very great program.”
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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.