St. Petersburg, Florida, also known as the Sunshine City, hosted Shen Yun Performing Arts on its 2018 world tour.
“They were just incredible. Their moves, their acrobatics, their unity. The choreography was just remarkable and its beauty and its variety,” said Daniel Chamberlain, Houghton College’s fourth president from 1976 through 2006. “And it’s the way they just work together so beautifully.”
“I thought it was communicated in an excellent way. It was communicated with aesthetics, with gentleness, with energy, with humor—with all of the things that I associate with the human spirit,” said Nate Jessup, president of marketing company Oceans4 Inc.
The New York-based company gave seven performances of classical Chinese dance and music at The Mahaffey Theater at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts from March 21 to 25.
The stories in Shen Yun portray values from Chinese culture that began with the Yellow Emperor almost 5,000 years ago. His teacher, Guangchengzi, was believed to be a Taoist deity with divine powers.
The Yellow Emperor taught his subjects how to live in accordance with the Tao, part of why Chinese culture is thus considered to be inspired by the divine.
“The message of the spiritual tradition of China that goes back 5,000 years is a very important part of it,” said Mr. Jessup. “I think that it is a message for all of humanity, not only in China, but elsewhere.”
“I think that it speaks to people spiritually on all levels. I think regardless of your religion that you can get something out of it and it gives you hope, and it gives you kind of a connection to something that’s bigger than you are,” said actress Alison Burns.
“I think it gives [one] an appreciation for the culture, for its depth, for its longevity,” said Mr. Chamberlain.
Shen Yun has both male and female vocalists who sing Chinese lyrics in bel canto style opera. Ms. Burns said she was particularly impressed by one of the female soloists.
“Her placement was absolutely perfect. She’s singing beautifully, her resonance was perfect. The placement, her mask was perfect. And I’m a voice teacher so I know exactly what she’s doing and it’s amazing, she sounded beautiful,” said Ms. Burns.