RALEIGH, N.C.—All aspects of Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s foremost classical Chinese dance company, impressed Don and Martha Ellington. “We’ve seen it advertised and we always wanted to come, but it never worked out,” Mr. Ellington said. “We were very impressed.”
The couple had recently returned from Israel where they participated at a conference for the Arts.
Mrs. Ellington said that while there, the group used silk banners and flags and dyed the silk as part of the conference workshop.
“So we were very impressed with this … indescribable. I mean, that’s where it started. This is where the silk started, this is where the dance started. It was just beautiful.”
Classical Chinese dance is grounded in 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, and is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics, the Shen Yun website says.
Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power. Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard for human conduct, moral concepts, mental state, one’s value system, and so on.
“Absolutely superb,” Mr. Ellington, an engineer, said.
Animated digital backdrops that are as grand as they are intricate and so remarkably true to life, fascinated Mrs. Ellington.
“The way they combined the 21st century technical with the very, very old was just fascinating. I just loved the backdrop, and it just really added to it. It made it magical.”
Also, the hundreds of handmade costumes spanning dynasties and regions created a kaleidoscope of color. Mr. Ellington dubbed the costumes beautiful and the spirituality of the show as “really touching.”
When all seems lost and disaster strikes in the finale, Buddha’s Light Shines Forth, Lord Buddha appears with divine beings following in His wake. Chaos is quelled and peace prevails, as kind-hearted people’s goodness is rewarded. Golden words on the backdrop proclaim the beginning of a glorious new era.
Mr. Ellington understood the piece as “just giving people hope, and understanding that there is a creator, and we all want to get to in our end times, or past our time on this earth—however you want to put it. That was very, very interesting, and very inspiring,” he said.
China was once known as the Divine Land, its traditional culture said to have been brought down from the heavens, the program book says. But under the last 60 years of atheist communist rule, this divinely inspired culture has been almost completely destroyed.
“It’s all so exciting that someone’s keeping this alive because we all know what’s going in China,” Mrs. Ellington said. “I mean, the Christians are being put down—all different religions—and that’s really sad.”
Mr. Ellington was interested in the program book’s explanation of the dance pieces that were performed, and the different times and eras when history unfolded.
“But in truth, it’s [been] a country of a great culture for a long, long time.”
Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day.
Mr. Ellington said he would share this information about Shen Yun with his friends, particularly a lot of dancers the couple knows and encourage others to come to see a performance.
Mrs. Ellington said she would tell them that the show was “absolutely marvelous. That the materials, the fabrics—they just send you into another world.”
“And technically,” her husband said, “I would say the movements are sharp and clear. They need to be very fluid, and everyone’s quite stable on the stage. Even if they’re doing a cartwheel, they’re doing it well.”
The thunderous drumming sequences pulled on Mrs. Ellington’s heart, while the Shen Yun Orchestra’s blend of Eastern and Western instruments, reminded Mr. Ellington of his own dance performances. The couple are semi-professional dancers.
“The orchestra’s good. Live music is always better with any dance performance,” he said.
Shen Yun ‘Eye-opening’
Rheumatologist physician Sherry Sinclair was also in the audience enjoying “a beautiful travel through history, and a wonderful culture,” she said.
“It’s lovely, just lovely, beautiful. Very talented performers. It’s high energy, colorful, beautiful, beautiful costumes. Just lovely,” she said.
She said the energy flowing between the performers and the digital backdrops was an experience she had not seen before.
“I have not seen that, where the performers sort of seem to fly away into the sky. It’s very creative.”
Ms. Sinclair said also new to her was the exposure of the Chinese communist regime’s current persecution of certain beliefs, going on in China.
“It was eye opening to me,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television 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.