China’s Spirituality Reflected in Shen Yun’s Art, Says Prominent Lawyer
BUFFALO, N.Y.—Richard Binko and his wife Brenda Romanow were full of praise for Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing the New York-based company’s performance at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Thursday evening.
“I was very impressed with the way the exuberance of the Chinese culture was demonstrated both in song and dance with the costumes,” said Mr. Binko, a prominent attorney based in Cheektowaga, N.Y., who has served as the president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and held executive positions in a number of other organizations.
“I was very impressed with the history and definitely the proud tradition of the Chinese culture showed through this exuberant performance tonight,” he added.
Shen Yun features classical Chinese dance and music, and has a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture. Through the performance, Mr. Binko said he learned that Chinese culture is deeply spiritual.
“It’s reflected in their music, their dance. … It’s very spiritual and very cultural, very within, very core,” he said.
According to the Shen Yun website, “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance.
“But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience.”
Mr. Binko said the spiritual aspect of the performance “came through with the expression, the effortless movement of the performers, and the beautiful voices and the virtuoso singing. The instrumentation and hearing Chinese instruments with a Western orchestra demonstrated just a sense of spirituality that came through that isn’t normally heard in a Western orchestra.”
He added that the blend of traditional Chinese instruments and classical Western instruments in the orchestra created a unique sound.
“It’s kind of a spirituality with the type of sounds that come out of them, and they complement the dancing and the exuberance and the movements, especially with the scarves and the movement. The sounds of the instruments—they complement each other perfectly, and you could hear and you could see sound and movement together.”
Ms. Romanow, a paramedical esthetician with her own business, said she thoroughly enjoyed the performance, finding it colorful and lively. She used to dance herself and attended the National Ballet School in Toronto.
Drawing on her background as a dancer, Ms. Romanow said she appreciated all the hard work of the Shen Yun dancers.
“I understand the effort, the torment, the dedication, the hours, the blood, sweat, and tears that come with it all,” she said.
That realization moved her to tears while watching the performance.
“You’ve got so many people on the stage at one time, so that they’re all moving as one is very difficult to do in many hours, and I really give them a tremendous amount of credit for all of their effort.”
“I think they’re marvelous.”
Mr. Binko said the final piece particularly demonstrated the skill of the dancers.
“The last piece was very difficult with the spinning and they made it look effortless. They brought joy and they really transformed the audience. A great piece.”
Ms. Romanow noted that the performance was full of color that was in harmony with the rest of the stage, and there was “a lot of energy.”
“Positive [energy],” she said. “You could definitely see the difference between when the clouds came in and things became very dark and it was almost like they wanted the performance to lift and become more positive again with the colors and the brightness.”
Mr. Binko said the performance depicts China’s rich culture while at the same time showing the suppression present in modern-day China. Shen Yun, with its mission to revive China’s traditional culture that has been suppressed under decades of communist rule, currently cannot perform there.
“I feel a little sad about the repression that is going on, that a beautiful performance like this can be seen the world over but not in China,” he said.
“We will hope and pray that that will change and that thousands of years and culture will continue to build rather than be suffocated.”
Ms. Romanow said the show left her feeling “educated, innovated, thoroughly delighted with it. I am very pleased that we came.”
Her husband said he found that Shen Yun resonated on many levels.
“This is something that must be seen because it’s not only seen, it’s felt, and it’s felt not only through hearing and feeling the music but it stirs you inside and it provokes thoughts so you’re reached at all levels. It really is a multi-level, sensational performance.”
With reporting by Teng Dongyu and NTD Television
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will perform in Buffalo from April 24-25. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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