Shen Yun’s Use of Stage Props Inspires Choreographer

January 9, 2014 Updated: November 17, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—For 5,000 years divine culture flourished in the land of China, but was nearly lost. Through breathtaking classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun Performing Arts is bringing back this glorious culture. Such is the proclamation made on the company’s website.

Sandy Inbody, dance teacher, choreographer and casting director, summed up Shen Yun in one word: “excellent”.

“Obviously they’re highly trained dancers, so I really appreciate that. The production value was outstanding,” Ms. Inbody said. 

Based in New York, Shen Yun was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of the divinely inspired Chinese culture through weaving a tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and heroic tales.

“I love the use of the screen and the jumping back and forth the performers being on stage onto the screen and then back again.”

Animated projected digital backdrops complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, color of the costumes, specific dance movements, props, lighting, the story being told, particular notes played by the Shen Yun orchestra, and special audio effects, according to the Shen Yun website.

She thought the choreography was impressive.

“Excellent, very creative and I looked in the [program] book and I noticed there were several different choreographers, so the variety is really nice. Then there’ s the strength of the men versus the femininity of the females.”

Ms. Inbody was in tune with the spiritual essence imbued into the Shen Yun performance and washing over the audience. Shen Yun conveys a depth of spirituality, and was obviously what the performers believed in, according to Ms. Inbody.

According to Shen Yun’s website, China was once known as Shen Zhou—The Divine Land. This profound name describes a land where deities and mortals coexisted, and a belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth. 

Ms. Inbody said she and her husband found out about Shen Yun years ago when they walked through a mall and saw a promotion. They had been waiting ever since for Shen Yun to appear.

“We watched and watched and finally it came to Knoxville where we happen to be living,” Ms. Inbody said.

As a choreographer, Ms. Inbody said Shen Yun inspired her to use props in a more creative way.

“They have an amazing way to use the silks as the extension of their bodies with different props, so I’m just inspired and I have ideas now. They’ve given me ideas of different props to use while choreographing.”

Stage props strengthen a dancer’s ability to convey intricate emotions. When used to maximum effect, they add to the dances an extra lively spark, forming stunning images of beauty and splendor onstage, the website reads.

Ms. Inbody teaches dance at the Messiah Dance Company.

Reporting by Teresa You and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

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.