Dance Teacher on Shen Yun: ‘The Spirituality Was a Beautiful Accent to the Art of Dance’
PHILADELPHIA—Great art elicits complex emotions that mirror the human experience, with layers of feelings that rise and fall. Theatergoers the world over have called Shen Yun Performing Arts a source of great art and deep emotion, inspired by China’s 5,000 years of divinely-inspired civilization.
Denise DeProspo, a dance teacher and choreographer at New Jersey’s Marcia Hyland Dance and Arts Center, attended New York-based Shen Yun with her husband Len. Both described the feelings of hope and sadness, beauty and pain that the show elicited.
“The expression, the beautiful art expression,” Denise began, “The colors of the costumes, and the acrobatics of the dancing, and technique, it was just beautiful.”
“The art director was amazing,” Len said, who is retired and now attends numerous performances throughout the year, especially dance performances. “I have no idea how he put all of this together, that covered so many thousands of years, and put it together for an hour and a half presentation that hit home, and made such a great point about the Chinese culture, about the dance, about the combination of dance and acrobatics. The instruments, the musicians, the dedication was just amazing. I’m very, very impressed by tonight. My first Shen Yun will not be my last.”
The dance expert agreed with her husband. “It was a beautiful showing of dance and the arts. A wonderful experience. I would recommend anyone to come and see this show.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s true culture through highly-expressive art forms native to that ancient civilization such as classical Chinese dance, bel canto vocal performances, couture costumes, and more. The artists combine those with fine arts from the West such as orchestral compositions for a live orchestra, and digitally animated backdrops, to ultimately breathe new life into China’s authentic culture. A deep spiritual essence and divine inspiration have comprised the core of the culture since time immemorial.
Thinking back on the performance he had just seen, Len remarked on “the cultural experience of the Chinese, I mean, how many years it goes back and the concentration of the arts, the integrity of the arts, the delicacy of the arts, was amazing [in Shen Yun]. Very touching. I was very impressed by the different levels of culture that have gone on over the years.”
Denise added her educated opinion about Shen Yun’s dancers and their technique: “It was excellent. … beautiful artistry. Oh, they’re magnificent. They’re absolutely magnificent. They’re strong and gentle and beautiful. I enjoyed every moment.”
Shen Yun cannot perform in China today due to a decades-long campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to wipe out traditional Chinese culture, especially its spiritual beliefs and practices. Shen Yun depicts the persecution that the CCP is waging on innocent spiritual believers in China today, and the silver lining that has formed along with it as good people exhibit compassion and faith in the face of such brutality.
Len described what touched him the most about Shen Yun—its cultural essence—and described a sense that many have watching great art—a deep and complex tapestry of emotions.
“It was sad to see in a way, the little bit of oppression that they cannot perform these arts in China. It’s such a cultural, it’s such a soft, it’s such an openness that they want to share and not be able to do that is sad to me in a sense. But the excitement and the energy level that they exuded tonight was amazing. It touched me very deeply, very deeply. And I gotta say the costumes were amazing.”
“I see a history of people that are such hard-working people,” Len continued, “and are religious people, to go through what they’ve gone through. … And to see such a faithful, hardworking culture not be able to express it openly in their own country, after all, they’ve gone through, is sad. But it is, on a happier note, great to see they can express it here and share with us here in the United States, throughout the world really. Their feelings, their emotion, their religion, and their beliefs. It was really touching.”
Shen Yun’s divine themes “brought a different aspect to dance,” Denise added. “The spirituality was a beautiful accent to the art of dance.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Brett Featherstone.
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