NEW YORK—Art teachers Robert Forlini and Phoebe Gilman are keenly aware of aesthetics. After seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts, the couple said they could not believe such colors, costuming, animation, and movement could come together in this way.
New York-based Shen Yun presents a culture that is 5,000 years old, but the presentation was completely original for Mr. Forlini. It gave Ms. Gilman many things to think about and take as inspiration.
As a photographer, Mr. Forlini is always looking at people, keen on capturing the human condition. The spirit he saw in Shen Yun was all positive.
“It has very uplifting, positive messages. Just an optimistic outlook on life, I think,” Mr. Forlini said.
Shen Yun finished its first New York-run with five performances at Lincoln Center on Jan. 17. The performances were all sold out, with audience members saying they would bring or tell friends and family to see it again in March.
Sandy Kessler, a financial adviser, saw the Sunday matinee with her friend, Philip Orner, an attorney. The two felt spiritually touched by Shen Yun.
“My impression is that it’s spectacular, it’s very uplifting,” Ms. Kessler said.
Through the combination of colors, the dance, the music—all the aspects, Ms. Kessler said that Shen Yun put her in a very happy mood.
The performers conveyed a great deal, and did so “through my spirit, through my sense of understanding,” Ms. Kessler said. “It brings into play the cultural parts of China over time, and it speaks to my heart and soul.”
Shen Yun told many new stories in its 10th season. The well-loved epic “Journey to the West” was brought back for a fun and comical piece about the Monkey King’s early days. Manchurian maidens from the Qing Dynasty showed off their elevated “flower pot” shoes. There was even a piece that touched on China in the 1960s.
It was uplifting through the “lightness of the performers,” Ms. Kessler said. “They are so light and so graceful and high-spirited.”
Mr. Orner said that Ms. Kessler had aptly put his own thoughts into words.
He felt charmed by what he called a sense of “equilibrium.” He thought the choreography and performance overall had balanced everything perfectly and impressively.
For him, the spirit of China, the true spiritual China, was most clearly articulated in the lyrics of baritone Qu Yue’s song.
“We don’t take status and wealth with us when we leave this world. It’s just about our kindness and our affection and our good acts,” he interpreted. It was present in the stories and dances as well.
“Good should prevail over evil. We are here on this planet earth, this world, to achieve goodness, not evil. Our deeds carry on over to the next world when our soul departs our body.”
Reporting by Weiyong Zhu, Sherry Dong, and Catherine Yang
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.