Ms. LaLonde is the marketing director at Shoney’s of Knoxville, Inc., a local restaurant company. She has lived in Knoxville for 23 years, enough time to have experienced the music that the town has to offer.
But Ms. LaLonde said she was taken aback by the Shen Yun Orchestra that accompanies each dance.
“I was surprised by the music,” she said. “It was very beautiful and very pretty.”
“I could tell there was some Western influence and I thought it really meshed well together,” Ms. LaLonde said.
The Shen Yun Orchestra combines the best qualities of a symphonic orchestra—the grandeur of the brass section, the romantic tones of the violin, with the distinct flavors of Chinese instruments such as the two-stringed erhu, also known as the Chinese violin.
“I was very amazed at the … artistry, the technique, and the precision of the dancers,”Ms. LaLonde said.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a classical Chinese Dance company that tours around the world. It was founded in 2006 by leading classical Chinese artists, who came together in New York with a wish to revitalize Chinese culture.
Classical Chinese dance is a systematic dance system, with origins from ancient times. Its techniques emphasize highly difficult technical skills such as intricate jumps, leaps, turns, and flips, according to the Shen Yun website.
Another component of classical Chinese dance is its methods of storytelling. Shen Yun performs a number of mini-drama pieces based on stories and legends that span from China’s origins with the Yellow Emperor, through the Tang and Song dynasties, and all the way to the modern day.
“It was helpful to read the little vignettes in the program ahead of time but I felt the emotion,” Ms. LaLonde said.
A major component of classical Chinese dance is its bearing, which focuses on conveying deep emotional expressions through dance.
Dances are also often embellished with props—from Daoist whisks to Tang Dynasty drums.
“There were a lot of fun ones,” she said. “I really enjoyed the drummers.”
“I could tell that they were very well trained,” Ms. LaLonde said. “They had put in a lot of time and effort to perfect their artistic artistry and their craft.”
Reporting by Mary Silver and Amelia Pang.
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.