Delicate, Powerful, and Beautiful: A Dancer’s Perspective of Shen Yun

AUSTIN, Texas—Former Rockette Jennifer McCamish was blown away by the precise yet delicate form of classical Chinese dance by Shen Yun Performer Arts dancers at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin on Dec. 27.

“The techniques—wow. They’re something to really open your eyes to,” Ms. McCamish said.

As a former Rockette, Ms. McCamish is familiar with a dance style known for its precision, synchronization, and high kicks. After a hip injury, Ms. McCamish opened Dancers Shape fitness studio in Austin where she teaches a unique technique she created that combines ballet, Pilates, and yoga.

Classical Chinese dance, she discovered, contains many of those aspects but is a unique dance style in and of itself.

With hundreds of unique postures and movements, classical Chinese dance is a vast and independent system of dance. New York-based Shen Yun is reviving 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, and the divinely inspired aspects of Chinese culture are present throughout the performance.

The traditional Chinese values imbued in the form allow for rich expressiveness of unparalleled clarity, according to Shen Yun’s website.

“Very delicate and powerful at the same time, so really beautiful,” Ms. McCamish said. “The choreography is beautiful. Very precise and clean.”

Ms. McCamish said that it was fun to see the dancers use their costumes as well. For instance, female dancers used their long, flowing “water sleeves” as an expressive extension.

“The costumes were beautiful, very vibrant,” Ms. McCamish said.

Ms. McCamish also said that she learned through the performance that the traditional values and art forms Shen Yun present are not something that can be seen in China today.

“It really makes me appreciate it more that they’re able to bring it to the Western culture and educate us on their history,” Ms. McCamish said.

Reporting by Lily Setoh and Catherine Yang.

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.

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