CINNCINATI—”I can’t stop staring at their feet! Their feet are awesome,” said veteran ballet dancer Barbara Neely of Shen Yun Performing Arts’s dancers after seeing their matinee performance on Feb. 27 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture,” according to the company’s website.
Barbara Neely, now a dental hygienist, formerly a dancer with the Fort Wayne Ballet company and now a ballet instructor, saw Shen Yun this afternoon with Paul Dennison, director of U.S. Defense Services.
As a former dancer, Ms. Neely was able to really appreciate and fully understand all the hard work that goes into a production like of Shen Yun’s. “I’m impressed with everything—the costumes, the choreography and dancing in those kind of costumes—that has to be very, very difficult, and to make it look effortless is a beautiful thing,” she said.
Ms. Neely remarked on how “effortless” Shen Yun’s dancers made everything look. “That’s very difficult to do—to do those kinds of difficult moves and make it look so graceful and elegant without the feeling that they are trying really hard.”
Mr. Dennison agreed. He added, “Smiling all the time without breaking a smile and doing all those difficult moves—it’s wonderful.”
Several segments of the performance feature solo vocalists with piano accompaniment. Ms. Neely found their lyrics to be bold.
“The tenor, he was amazing,” Ms. Neely commented. “I had never seen a singer like that, especially in Chinese. That was amazing.”
Feeling that the message behind the song lyrics was very impressive, Ms. Neely said, “It’s really nice to see them be so bold and formidable with their feelings in a song because I always had the impression of them being very stoic, keeping everything inside and not portraying or letting it out emotionally [about] how they are really feeling.”
Elisa Geren is the executive assistant at Luxottica Retail, a major optical company. She and her husband Larry Geren also attended the matinee performance of Shen Yun on Feb. 27. Mr. Geren is a retired software engineer.
After seeing Shen Yun, Mrs. Geren was left in awe.
“Oh, it’s beautiful; it’s very educational,” was Mrs. Geren’s overall impression. She said, “I’ve learned a lot about Chinese culture and history that I knew nothing about, and it is a beautiful thing to watch.”
“Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” Shen Yun’s website states.
The spirituality of ancient Chinese culture was something that Mrs. Geren really appreciated seeing as part of the performance. What stood out to her was the spiritual connection that was embedded within China’s ancient traditions.
Reflecting on how she relates to this spiritual connection, she commented, “I’m kind of in awe of it, and it gives me a feeling of hope, like an open heart, to understand another culture that is so different from mine and what it must have been like.”
Reporting by Nancy Ma, Charlie Lu, and Andrew Darin
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.
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.