HOUSTON—”We’re in the third row and it’s just magnificent,” said Mr. George Pilko, chairman of the international advisory service Pilko & Associates, of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Jones Hall for Performing Arts on Dec. 31.
“It’s uplifting,” said Mr. Pilko, who attended the performance with Mrs. Janet Fisher, Senior Vice President of National Sales at Comerica Bank. “You feel a great amount of joy,” Mrs. Fisher said.
Mr. Pilko, an environmental specialist, founded Pilko & Associates in 1980 in Houston to provide quality solutions to chemical and energy companies. The company has expanded across 32 countries since, and Mr. Pilko, who has been to China, said he was interested in the performance’s presentation of Chinese culture.
The New York-based company was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of Chinese culture through traditional arts, according to its mission statement.
“Oh, it’s fabulous!” Mrs. Fisher said. “The grade of the dancers and just the expressions on their faces … and just the grace,” Mrs. Fisher said of the dancers. “It’s like they have a real connection to the audience and loving what they’re doing.”
The traditional Chinese dance performed includes ethnic and folk dances from the many regions of China, and classical Chinese dance. “Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty,” classical Chinese dance has become a complete system with three main components, according to the Shen Yun website.
Form refers to the poses and postures down to the most minute detail, while technique includes the highly difficult jumps, flips, and tumbling techniques. Bearing refers to the inner spirit, which allows each and every performer to embody the characters they portray.
Many of the dances tell a story, which is enhanced by Shen Yun’s animated backdrop.
“I loved the interplay of the visuals, the jumping off and going into the graphics. Very, very nicely done,” Mrs. Fisher said.
The digital backdrop projects scenes from lush valleys to celestial palaces, and allows the dancers to transition seamlessly from stage to screen. Added to that is the Shen Yun Orchestra, which recently played at Carnegie Hall, with a unique blend of western and Chinese instruments.
“I thought the music was perfect. It doesn’t take away from the performance, it adds to it. It’s the perfect grounding,” Mrs. Fisher said.
Mrs. Fisher enjoyed the different aspects of Shen Yun’s production and felt it delivered the “flavor for the diversity that is China, and certainly the 5,000 years of heritage.”
The stories in Shen Yun’s performance change every year, and span from the origin of the first dynasty up to China today. However, Shen Yun has not been able to perform in China since its inception, as the traditional values it presents are not encouraged under the current regime. One of the dances portrayed the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, which is still ongoing in China.
“I thought it was very powerfully done,” Mrs. Fisher said of the dance. Mr. Pilko agreed and added it wasn’t something he realized was part of Shen Yun’s mission. “I would recommend [Shen Yun] to people,” he said.
Reporting by Catherine Yang.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing in Houston through January 1. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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