NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Shen Yun Performing Arts, touring the world with a mission to revive the beauty and grandeur of traditional Chinese culture, performed at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Feb. 25.
Nashville, best known for its country music, warmly welcomed the New York-based company.
Among the audience were Mark Shater, a TV producer, and Kristin Fecteau.
Mr. Shater said: “I thought it was lovely. I thought the colors, the dance, the movement, the music, all work in a beautiful harmony.
“I just thought it was in a wonderful glimpse inside Chinese culture, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.”
Ms. Fecteau said: “It was beautiful, absolutely stunning. It was like a kaleidoscope of dancing.”
Classical Chinese dance is at the heart of every Shen Yun performance and is a system of dance that is nearly as old as the civilization itself, the company says. Although mastering the dance requires extensive training and athleticism, it is able to convey the innermost thoughts and virtues of each performer.
Every year the company creates an entirely new show, with all-original choreography, costumes, and music. Story-based dances present ancient tales of wisdom, loyalty, and compassion from ancient times up to modern-day.
Mr. Shater commented on some of these aspects of the performance. “I thought the choreography was beautiful. I thought the storytelling, in particular, especially lovely, the way that the movements in the dance and the expressions on the dancers’ faces told so many parts of the story, and I thought that was especially beautiful.
“And both of us really enjoyed the way that the images on the big screen were incorporated into the dance on the stage. We thought that was excellent,” he said.
Ms. Fecteau felt the messages of “hope and truth and deity [were] really nice, very spiritual messages.”
The New York-based company’s performance, bringing 5,000 years of Chinese civilization to life, can only be shown outside of China, according to the emcees, as the Chinese regime does not encourage the traditional arts and values that Shen Yun presents. A few of the narrative dances depict current repression of freedom of belief in China.
Mr. Shater said he appreciated the expression of the repression in modern-day China in a couple of the dances, “because, as the announcer said, what we saw on stage tonight, certainly parts of it would have been allowed, but other parts not allowed in China … so I really appreciated that and felt very fortunate that we were able to see that.”
As a TV producer, Mr. Shater appreciated the enormous effort required to put such a show together.
“I think it was incredibly hard, there was so much going on. We also appreciated the fact that there were a number of dancers who were on the stage throughout [the performance].”
Ms. Fecteau added, “We were surprised, they must have had to change costumes so fast … beautiful costumes and they’re very elaborate costumes too; the lighting and the color and the music. The live orchestra was beautiful.”
Mr. Shater concluded: “We appreciated that the live orchestra travels with Shen Yun … we just felt like it was a beautiful experience.”
Reporting by Maggie Xie and Anna Stute.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be in Nashville’s TPAC for one more performance on Feb. 26, and then Little Rock on Feb. 27 and 28 at the Robinson Center Music Hall.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.