Former Professional Dancers Call Shen Yun Captivating and Amazing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Mr. Vladislav Kalinin, former member of the American Ballet Theater, and his mother Ms. Ludmila Kalinin, also a former ballet dancer, were in the audience for Shen Yun’s April 22, 2015, performance at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Kalinin has seen Shen Yun several times in past years.

Shen Yun “was very interesting and a show I haven’t seen before.” “It’s interesting to see a tradition that covers thousands of years up until modern times,” Mr. Kalinin said.

Dreyfoos Hall, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Dreyfoos Hall, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” the Shen Yun website states.

“They have great dancers, great stories. Amazing stories … captivating and really interesting stories,” Mr. Kalinin said.

Ms. Kalinin agreed with her son and was amazed that one could “see the roots of the culture” through the program.

Shen Yun, at second glance, brings “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. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture,” the company website states.

‘Lost in Another World’

“The dancers really are doing a fantastic job because they transfer the story to the audience who can enjoy and see what’s happening,” Mr. Kalinin said.

Shen Yun dancers “gave 110 percent.” “They work so hard, and you can see it,” he said.

He said that some of the scenes, such as “The Fable of the Magic Brush,” really touched him. “Also, it was very entertaining when the dancers were shown on the backdrop. … It made me get lost in another world.”

“The backdrops are magical windows to completely different realms. … The digital projection infinitely expands and transforms the stage,” Shen Yun says on its website.

Traditions Important for Everyone

“Two thumbs up for the artists for preserving China’s traditions—it’s very important,” Mr. Kalinin said.

“It gets lost if we don’t preserve it. It gets lost, and people, especially younger generations, will never see it,” he said of China’s traditional culture. “They will never know what happened in the past and how the nation got where it is right now. It’s very important, not only for younger generation, but for everyone.”

Without spirituality, “humans get lost,” he said. “We’re not paying attention to spirituality anymore. … I think that older generations, you know, thousands of years ago, they were in touch with something that we don’t understand.”

“Actually, even if we don’t understand traditions, they are still there. … Just so you know, we don’t really have to so understand about traditions, but just live in it, and within time, you connect,” he said.

Reporting by Jada Derry and Heide B. Malhotra 

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.

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