Shen Yun’s Dancers Are Truly Artistic, Says Choreographer

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times
January 11, 2014 Updated: January 11, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO—Professional dancer and choreographer Giorgi Ksovreli attended Shen Yun Performing Arts with fellow dancer Pollyanna Malorni and dance student Nancy Francis, and said he saw a unique artistry rarely seen.

“The way they do even flips, it says something about it,” Mr. Ksovreli said at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, Jan. 10. “It’s not just a trick, like a sporty visual look.”

“I’ve seen lots of, and I’ve worked with lots of dancers as well, on lots of tricks and flips,” Mr. Ksovreli said. “But what I like is they’re using it in an artistic way, which is very unique.”

New York-based Shen Yun performs mostly classical Chinese dance, and ethnic and folk dances, to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the performing arts.

Classical Chinese dance is an independent and vast system of dance including hundreds of unique postures and movements, and highly difficult aerial techniques. But in addition to emphasis on form and technique, classical Chinese dance focuses on bearing, or the “inner spirit.”

“They are great,” Mr. Ksovreli said of the performers. “Absolutely good preparation—physical, artistic, costumes, decoration.”

The digital backdrop, too, was a great addition to the performance, Mr. Ksovreli said, allowing the performance to connect the ancient to the modern day.

Mr. Ksovreli had also been impressed with the storytelling through the performance. “That’s the dramaturgy of choreography,” Mr. Ksovreli said. “I would say it’s very, very good choreography.”

Ms. Malorni said this had been her first experience with classical Chinese dance, and she was taken with the flow of the form and of the entire performance.

“It flows from one dance to another,” Ms. Malorni said. As a dancer, Ms. Malorni said she was well aware of the hard work the performers had gone through to not only be able to perform all the flips and tumbling techniques she saw, but incorporate them seamlessly into so many different dances. “It is fantastic, combining all the different choreographies like that. Very talented people.”

As dancers, the group noticed the brilliant costumes as well. For a production of large scale, like Shen Yun, costumes are the number one factor, said Mr. Ksovreli.

“It’s fabulous. The costumes were absolutely stunning,” said Mr. Ksovreli.

Ms. Malorni enjoyed the costumes as well, adding they were almost a prop, and matched the background every time. In one piece, female dancers wore long, flowing “water sleeves,” from the Han dynasty, and in another they wore heel-less “flower-pot” shoes as Manchurian princesses did in the 17th century.

“I think it’s exquisite; very, very feminine, and I think this stands out for me, being of Chinese culture,” Ms. Francis said. “The dancing expresses the feelings to me; they know what they’re doing.”

Ms. Malorni said the feeling she had from watching the performance was relaxing and spiritual.

The performance was unexpectedly thoughtful, which Ms. Malorni said she enjoyed. Thinking about the traditional values and songs of the performance, Ms. Malorni said she’d been thinking, “We’re going back to the creator. So it was very thoughtful.”

Mr. Ksovreli agreed and said the history Shen Yun showed had been spiritual, and the approach of reviving the culture through performing arts was a good one for the world.

For Ms. Francis, Shen Yun was not her first encounter with traditional Chinese culture. Ms. Francis moved from China many years ago, and explained why Shen Yun is not something that can be seen in China today as the emcees had said.

“The point is they do not encourage [freedom of belief]. The nation, the communist nation right now, they want progress right now. They don’t believe in the deities,” Ms. Francis said.

But here in the Bay Area, Ms. Francis said she sees many young people of Chinese descent learning dance, and young people interested in traditional Chinese dance. She said she wished they could see Shen Yun, and learn more about classical Chinese dance.

“The mission is good,” Mr. Ksovreli said.

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.

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.