NEWARK, New Jersey — On May 7, Shen Yun wrapped up five sold-out performances at New Jersey’s esteemed Performing Arts Center — delighting audiences with stunning choreography and dancing, vibrant costumes, gravity-defying acrobatics, immersive digital backdrops, live music, and more.
Since its inception in 2006, Shen Yun Performing Arts has become the world’s premier company in presenting classical Chinese dance, art, and music through captivating, immersive performances.
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Currently, the New York-based ensemble is composed of eight equally-sized companies that tour and perform around the world simultaneously, debuting a brand new production every year. Each company is made up of a diverse group of elite artists from around the globe — united in their mission to revive and celebrate 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture prior to the ravages of communism.
Sashi Nairobi, a software engineer, attended Shen Yun’s performance in Newark, New Jersey on May 5 alongside his family and friends.
“I was stunned by the choreography and how well planned it was. The use of visual effects in the background was amazing, and made the story more beautiful,” said Nairobi’s son, Ishan.
Shen Yun’s use of a high-tech integrative, digital backdrop brings scenes from different landscapes, celestial realms, and ethnic regions to life — giving the illusion of the performers jumping in and out of different time periods and ancient dynasties. The performers’ costumes are adorned with intricate designs, vibrant colors, and beautiful fabrics that add to the beauty and magic of each performance.
When asked about his favorite aspect of the show, Nairobi said, “The storytelling was really nice — clear, concise, and beautifully portrayed through dance.”
Vardika Singh, who attended the show with her husband, a computer scientist, told reporters that the show was “awesome,” and that she particularly enjoyed the live orchestra and singing.
“The costumes and the music were really great. The music performance with the orchestra, in particular, was awesome and I really enjoyed the animation and dancing,” said Singh, adding, “[The performance] was very relaxing; I read a lot about the culture of China and it was really great being able to learn the culture, and historical parts of it.”
‘Orange County’s relationship with Shen Yun will continue to grow and blossom’
After attending Shen Yun’s performance in Newark on May 4, Steve Neuhaus and Paul Arteta, Orange County Executive and Sheriff, had high praise to share with reporters.
“I’ve seen little performances here and there, but to see this with the whole story was amazing,” said Neuhaus, adding, “I loved the narrators telling you what’s coming next, and explaining what time period each dance piece was talking about.”
Each one of Shen Yun’s performances are guided by two emcees who explain each segment in both English and Chinese — making the storylines more accessible to a wider audience.
“I am so proud to have all the performers who train in Orange County and put everything together to spread a positive message around the world,” said Neuhaus, adding that despite Shen Yun not being able to perform in China, he hoped that the performers can “share their wonderful stories here [in the US].”
When asked about what stood out to him the most, Neuhaus said, “[The show] is something very positive that I can showcase as County Executive. You talk about freedom, and I think that eventually — like all oppressive governments — the spirit of the people will overcome,” he added.
“The Orange County relationship with Shen Yun is a marriage that is only going to continue growing and blossoming — we have regular conversations about great proposals with the City of Middletown, and we are very excited and happy about that; there’s a very bright future,” said Neuhaus.
‘Stories that we don’t get to see’
Orange County Sheriff, Paul Arteta, shared with reporters that the event was “fantastic,” and that he was very excited to have been able to experience it.
“This was a fantastic event, I was very excited to come,” said Arteta, adding, “The fact that people undergo such oppression in China, but can tell the story in the U.S. brings a lot of positivity,” he added.
‘The Divine message was very moving’
Uzma Afzal, a physician, and Fida Abbas, the owner of an extermination company, attended Shen Yun’s performance in Newark on May 5.
“We’ve seen a lot of flyers all over the place, and we thought the show was beautiful and mind-blowing,” said Afzal, adding that Shen Yun’s message about “returning to tradition” struck a chord with her.
“The show talks a lot about getting back to tradition, culture, and the old days. It was really nice and touching. Also, the Divine message about [the Creator] coming to intervene to save people was really special,” she said.
When asked about her favorite part of the show, Azfal said, “The dancing was absolutely mind-blowing and [the dancers] made it look so easy. I can’t narrow down my favorites to just one, but I loved the ‘Mongolian Chopsticks,’ and the ‘Water Sleeves’ were also gorgeous.”
“Everything was just so nice,” she gushed, adding, “The music and singing were also amazing.”
Shen Yun’s female dancers showcase the delicate beauty and grace of ancient princesses and damsels; while male dancers bring the strength, perseverance, and agility of war generals, ancient deities, and scholars.
When asked about what he enjoyed the most, Abbas said, “I loved seeing the dancers going in and out of the screen — that was amazing. And the messaging about technology being harmful, and how communism is not the way to go.”
Shen Yun’s performances aim not only to entertain, but also educate audiences on important social and political issues while providing a unique perspective on the human spirit and the importance of not taking certain freedoms for granted.
‘The dancing was flawless’
Venus Giovan, a nurse practitioner, attended Shen Yun’s performance in Newark on May 5 alongside her friend.
“It was my first time seeing the show, and everything was so beautiful. The scenery was very peaceful and the dancing was flawless. Everything was flowing and was so nice,” said Giovan, adding that the storylines were “interesting and emotional.”
“The music was very upbeat, you just couldn’t turn away from it. The singing was also beautiful,” she added.
‘A wonderful cultural experience’
Rita and Jack Wood from Hawthorne, New York, attended Shen Yun’s performance in Newark on May 4 for the first time.
“I think it was a wonderful cultural experience. The dancing, physicality, training, and dedication was amazing to experience,” said Rita, adding, “It was a beautiful show.”
When asked about which aspect stood out to them the most, Rita said, “I learned from [Shen Yun’s show] that Chinese people are steeped in tradition and are very faithful. I know they can’t perform this show in mainland China, but I learned about faith, solidarity and freedom.”
“Fortunately, we are able to see it here,” added Jack.
For more information about Shen Yun Performing Arts, including FAQs, upcoming performances, and ticketing information, please visit the official website here.