CINCINNATI, Ohio—Surgeon Nidhi Gupta was captivated by Shen Yun Performing Arts. “The show was absolutely beautiful. It was amazing,” she said after seeing the performance at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for the Arts on Saturday night, Feb. 4.
In aiming to revitalize the traditional performing arts of ancient China and bring them to the world, New York-based Shen Yun tours with a company of classical Chinese dancers, stellar vocalists and instrumentalists, and an orchestra of both Western and Chinese instruments.
Shen Yun specializes in both classical Chinese dance, which often tells stories of ancient Chinese legends, and also in ethnic dances that celebrate the many peoples inhabiting China.
“I was really a fan of the traditional mountain dancing. That piece I thought was very beautiful.”
Ms. Gupta is referring to In the Mountains, which depicts the Amei people. The Amei are one of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. “In this piece, dancers in elaborate headdresses hold hands and step in rhythm as they shift effortlessly between formations. Amei dance, like its people, emphasizes teamwork, coordination, and community,” according to the program’s notes.
Of Indian heritage, Ms. Gupta enjoyed seeing “the cultural mix” as presented through this ethnic dance. “I thought that was very beautiful,” she commented.
“The choreography was very intricate, to see the different styles of dancing, including the folk dancing from China was beautiful. The culture is so rich and the tradition is so beautiful that it is amazing to see it actually performed in such a beautiful venue as well.”
Shen Yun’s orchestra plays newly composed music each year, and that originality, combining Western arrangements and instruments with Chinese tunes and instruments, impressed Ms. Gupta. “I thought the music was incredible, especially to think that it is an original piece as well.”
At the heart of Shen Yun, Ms. Gutpa thought, was its spirituality: “I was impressed to know also that many of the performers are Americans actually, and they practice traditional Chinese art and meditation and all of it. It is very impressive to be able to preserve a culture that way.”
“I think the idea of spirituality and thinking of the divine and preserving culture and tradition and heritage, I think all of those are very strong messages.”
This combination of culture and spirituality, “it was very beautiful and it was done in such an artistic manner.”
Ms. Gupta also commented on some messages of current human rights abuses that Shen Yun depicts in some of its dances.
She felt this inclusion provided a strong message of those who “try to stand up for some human rights issues that are happening in China.
“I think it is a great cause and something certainly worth your time and energy to participate and attend. I think it makes you much more aware of the issues in the world, too.”
Overall, Ms. Gupta said, “it is an absolutely beautiful depiction of Chinese culture and heritage in a multi-faceted way.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The Touring Company will be in Raleigh for its next performance.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.