There’s Something for Everyone in Shen Yun
NEW YORK—When Vedrana Gjivoje’s husband brought home a brochure advertising Shen Yun Performing Arts, Mrs. Gjivoje thought it might be “something the whole family could see together—where everyone could be included.”
They saw the performance at David H. Koch Theater in New York, on Sunday, Jan. 12, and it turned out to be even better than she and her family had expected, and even educational.
“It was interesting to learn that acrobatics has its roots in traditional Chinese dance,” Mrs. Gjivoje said.
Shen Yun takes audiences on a journey inspired by 5,000 years of Chinese civilization to the modern day.
“It was interesting to learn about how a meditation [practice] is even currently being forbidden in China, and that [Shen Yun] has to take all of this dance history and practices out of their country to revive [the culture].”
A couple of Shen Yun’s dance pieces depict how the Chinese regime persecutes adherents of the Falun Gong meditation practice—a discipline based on the principles of truth, compassion, and tolerance.
“I liked the element of hope,” said Mrs. Gjivoje. “I liked how skillfully and artfully [Shen Yun] introduced the whole notion of a suppressed culture in China and that despite [the persecution] there’s this group of people that are bringing it to light—so that [traditional Chinese culture] can continue to live and be shared with the rest of the world.”
Mrs. Gjivoje was impressed by the skill of the dancers, including their stunning acrobatics and fascinating movements using ribbons.
“You really don’t see that anywhere else,” she said.
In one of the all-male dances, called Mongolian Chopsticks, the dancers produce a staccato beat.
“I loved the Mongolian chop sticks,” Mrs. Gjivoje said.
Mrs. Gjivoje also enjoyed the Shen Yun Orchestra, which performs original compositions using both Western and Chinese instruments.
“I enjoyed hearing music that I’m not familiar with. I felt it was more of a cultural enrichment. The piece of the woman playing the violin-like instrument [erhu] was fabulous. I was mesmerized.”
The erhu, known as the Chinese violin, is a two-stringed instrument that is played vertically.
“The fact that she could create such unbelievably beautiful music with just two strings was amazing. She was clearly very immersed in the moment herself. It was really lovely to watch an artist who becomes the music. I felt like she became the music,” Mrs. Gjivoje said.
The performance had another surprising aspect that Mrs. Gjivoje didn’t expect.
“I loved the animated graphics [from the digital screen]. I loved how the artist would fly from the screen onto the stage.”
Overall Mrs. Gjivoje found Shen Yun to be “very enjoyable.” She said, “It’s great for families.” “I would give it two thumbs up for sure. I think we are going to come next year.”