TOLEDO, Ohio—Shen Yun Performing Arts’ artistic quality was so grand, even the artistic director of the Ballet Theatre of Toledo, Nigel Burgoine, was impressed.
Mr. Burgoine and his wife were among the enthusiastic audience at Toledo’s Stranahan Theater on May 14, to see Shen Yun bring to life China’s ancient culture through to the present in Chinese classical dance, music, and song.
The theater drew a full house, several people stood to honor soprano Haolan Geng for her song, Reaching the Other Shore, and the New York-based Shen Yun itself was lauded with four curtain calls at the end.
Mr. Burgoine was impressed “with the dancing, the colors, the staging, and the overall artistic quality,” he said.
The curtain opened after each scene to reveal yet another blaze of color as exquisitely costumed artists, choreographed to perfectly match high-tech digital backdrops and a full orchestra playing a harmonious blend of Eastern and Western music, filled the stage, according the Shen Yun's Website.
Mr. Burgoine claimed that 30 years ago, while with the London Festival of Ballet, known today as the English National Ballet, he went to Beijing and Shanghai and it was the first Western company to dance in China. The Shen Yun show was the first Chinese show he had seen since.
As a professional dancer and choreographer, Mr. Burgoine commented broadly, “The choreography is beautiful and holds to [be] very traditional.”
"This is fabulous traditional Chinese dancing with a lot of similarities to classical ballet, that in some areas I find a lot more charming because of the stories that are told through the movements.
"The dancing is absolutely marvelous; the dancers move together and stay synchronized, not just in the dancing, but also using their handkerchiefs and the drums and the bows, and the cloaks and the lanterns."
An integral part of Shen Yun is story-based dance depicting China's heroic legends, folkloric traditions, and modern stories of astounding courage.
“They explain the stories and everything so well, through the dance and through the singing. The precision of the music with the dancing is excellent,” Mr. Burgoine said.
Both shared their appreciation of having a live orchestra to complement the show.
With reporting by Julie Song.
The next stop on the USA tour is Newark, New Jersey for three performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, May 22-23. For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org