PURCHASE, New York — Over the weekend, Shen Yun Performing Arts mesmerized audiences at SUNY Purchase’s prestigious Performing Arts Center.
Featuring stunning dance routines, vibrant costumes and props, state-of-the-art digital backdrops, and a live orchestra, theatergoers couldn’t get enough of the performing arts troupe’s dazzling performance and gravity-defying acrobatics.
Established in 2006 and based in New York, Shen Yun is recognized as the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Every year, the company showcases a brand new production — highlighting China’s 5,000-year-old history and cultural heritage before the impact of Communism. Currently, Shen Yun has eight equally-sized troupes that tour and perform around the world simultaneously.
MORE ON SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS & AUDIENCE REVIEWS:
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- Shen Yun Enchants at Lincoln Center, Taking Audiences on a Magical Journey: ‘I Feel Like I Could Fly’
‘Beautiful and angelic’
Jamie Bogert, who came with her family to experience Shen Yun on April 23, told reporters that the performance was “beautiful and angelic, and that the dancing was “so smooth and flowed so well.”
“It was wonderful,” said Bogert, who shared that she came to see Shen Yun for her daughter Mila’s birthday. “It was just beautiful. We have been seeing information about it for years, and we kept saying ‘we just have to come, we have to come’ and it was definitely worth it,” she added.
When asked about what she liked the most, Bogert said, “I loved the women because they were flowing and looked so angelic. But some of the men were doing flips and really high jumps; there was a little bit of something for everybody.”
Bogert also made special note of the show’s use of live music and how her young daughter, who turned seven, said it had brought years to her eyes.
“The music was beautiful, and Mila said to me during intermission that at one point, she started to cry because it was so beautiful,” she said, adding, “We all felt that way and got a little teary-eyed, but for her to understand the depth and beauty of the music was really amazing, and gave us goosebumps.”
Through the seamless integration of classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dancing, ancient legends, contemporary narratives, and a live orchestra that combines traditional Chinese and classical Western instruments, Shen Yun takes the audience on a breathtaking journey through time and space.
The result is a beautiful fusion of sound that takes the audience on an immersive journey through the history and culture of China — with music ranging from classical to modern. “I have heard the two-string instrument previously and recognized the sound of it. It was very beautiful,” said Bogert, when asked about what she thought of the show’s live music.
The two-string instrument that Bogert mentions is the erhu: a traditional instrument from ancient China that can represent a wide range of emotions and musical tones.
Jamie’s mother, Shelly Rossitto, shared that she thought the performance was “unbelievable, very inspirational,” and that she would “definitely recommend it” to family and friends. “I would love to come back again next year,” she added.
“I thought it was very inspirational because the Chinese people have been persecuted for a long time, not just by this current regime, but before that [as well], and for them to still believe in being kind and faithful through all of that is very inspirational,” said Rossitto, adding, “It [should be] a lesson for everyone to stay true to what they believe in.”
Shen Yun’s performances aim not only to entertain, but also educate audiences on important social and political issues taking place in China today; all while providing a unique perspective on the human spirit and the importance of not taking certain freedoms for granted.
“You have to separate the Chinese culture from the politics because the politics in China have been so difficult,” said Rossitto, adding, “But the people, history, and culture still come through; that’s what I got from the show.”
‘A Divine message’
Pauline Archer, who attended the performance with her church on April 23, told reporters that the show’s “Divine message” was “so important to learn about.”
“This is like the end-of-times that would happen in real life,” said Archer, adding, “If you believe in the Divine and Divine entities and dimensions, you knew this was going to happen, it was just a matter of time. That’s why it’s so important to learn about the truth and what the Divine message is.”
Eirol Smith, from the Bronx, also attended Shen Yun’s performance on April 23 with other churchmembers.
“The show was beautiful, I had a ball. It’s very informative and brings us back a little bit of the old virtue which we enjoyed very much,” he said, adding, “I saw themes of courage, bravery — and I was intrigued by the media configuration with [the dancers] and how they jump onto the stage and then go flying.”
Shen Yun’s use of a high-tech integrative, digital backdrop brings scenes from different dynasties, celestial realms, and ethnic regions to life. The performers’ costumes are adorned with intricate designs, vibrant colors, and beautiful fabrics that add to the beauty and magic of the performance.
“I saw a lot of spirituality. The music was heavenly and amazing. The characters brought out the themes really well, and you could clearly identify what they were doing. We loved it; it was very, very nice,” said another church member, adding, “The costumes were outstanding.”
Shen Yun’s shows are also guided by two emcees who explain each segment in both English and Chinese — making it more accessible to a wider audience.
‘Shen Yun [performers] are Divine saviors’
Annette Lewis, an opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan, came to see Shen Yun for the first time on April 23.
Lewis, who attended the performance with her husband, said she was very “moved” and impressed by the performance. “The music was fabulous, the orchestra and the singers were great, and the erhu was very soothing and wonderful,” she said.
“Before the show, I’ve always admired the artwork of China, the colors, and the organization; I also love Chinese food,” said Lewis with a chuckle.
When asked about which part she enjoyed the most, Lewis said, “The last piece about the revival and renewing of the world impressed me the most,” she shared, adding, “You saw so much modern stuff with the cell-phones and distractions, and the destruction of families by the tsunami, but at the end, it all comes together and we return to humanity. It was a very beautiful and important message.”
“Shen Yun are divine saviors; we come here as Divine [beings] and I believe that,” said Lewis, adding, “We all have Divine within us and carry it with us. The message to be good and to love mankind really comes through.”
For more information on the performing arts troupe, including FAQs, upcoming performances, and ticketing information, please visit the official website here.