Shen Yun Delights Philadelphia Audience: “It’s a Must See!” (Photos)

By a Clearwisdom correspondent

( Shen Yun Performing Arts wrapped up the Philadelphia performances of its 2012 world tour at the Merriam Theater on Sunday, January 8, 2012. Warm applause filled the theater throughout the final show, which concluded with a standing ovation and five curtain calls.

Using both classical and ethnic Chinese dance, accompanied by live orchestration and animated backdrops, Shen Yun showcased the vast cultural heritage of China spanning 5,000 years of civilization.

Mr. Raghav Varma and his wife, Mrs. Nisha Varma

Entrepreneur: “Whoever hasn’t seen it, must, must, must watch!”

Mr. Raghav Varma, an entrepreneur in the wine retail business, attended the performance with his wife, Mrs. Nisha Varma, an interior designer.

“[It was] fabulous! I am speechless. It’s a great, great performance,” enthused Mr. Varma after the show.

His wife shared the sentiment. “Amazing—the choreography, the colors, the coordination,” she recalled, calling the performance “flawless.”

“We read about it in the newspaper, but we had no idea it would be this fantastic,” she added.

Deeply impressed with the skill of the Shen Yun dancers, who specialize in classical Chinese dance, Mrs. Varma said, “They are so graceful, and we are just amazed at how they could memorize so many different steps for so many different dances. And they are all equally beautiful.”

The beauty of the performance extended far beyond the superficial appearance for Mrs. Varma. “It was, in fact, very peaceful,” she said of the show. “It was not only beautiful, but there are very few shows that you can leave and actually feel a sense of peace inside.

“I thought it was very powerful in that they had a hidden yet direct meaning at the same time. The music and the dances really captured the beauty of religion … and meditation, and how much it can lead to a more peaceful and harmonious lifestyle, which is what we believe in as well,” she added.

Mr. Varma was also impressed with Shen Yun’s effort to revive traditional culture through the performing arts. “As far as [Shen Yun] bringing the culture and the tradition and the religion into perspective for the modern world, it’s doing a great job. … The way it’s been put into a manner for people to understand and realize, it’s a great a way for people to learn,” he said.

“Whoever hasn’t seen it, must, must, must watch [it],” concluded Mr. Varma.

“It’s a must see!” agreed his wife.

Mr. Donald Thompson and his wife, Mrs. Diane Thompson

Married Couple: “We will come back; we will make it something we do every year”

Mrs. Diane Thompson had learned about Shen Yun from her acupuncturist and came to the theater with her husband, Mr. Donald Thompson. While the couple had no vast knowledge of traditional Chinese culture prior to Sunday’s performance, they were thrilled to gain insight into China’s rich and diverse ancient heritage.

“It’s our first time coming to the show and we just love it,” said Mrs. Thompson at the intermission. “The colors are wonderful. The dance and the movements are just so perfect.”

“The music is very mellow, very smooth, very calm, very peaceful, very enjoyable. I loved it,” added Mr. Thompson.

“I think it is enlightening,” he said of the performance. “It lets people know what the culture is across the world—it’s totally different, it’s not the same as here in the United States.”

“We will come back. We will make it something we do every year, at the beginning of the year,” said Mrs. Thompson. “Definitely,” nodded Mr. Thompson in agreement.

Mr. Jay Karfunkle and his wife, Mrs. Donna Karfunkle

Retired business owners: “Each one of the vignettes was better than the one before”

Also in attendance on Sunday afternoon were Mr. Jay Karfunkle and his wife Mrs. Donna Karfunkle, active patrons of the arts who owned and operated a family business prior to retiring.

“It’s wonderful. Each one of the vignettes was better than the one before,” said Mrs. Karfunkle. “The dances are phenomenal—the physicality, the choreography.”

She was also impressed with the digitally projected backdrops. “It really is enchanting the way they have turned the backdrop [animated characters] into people on stage. It’s brilliant!”

A life-long lover of classical music, Mr. Karfunkle admired the Shen Yun Orchestra, which combines Western and Chinese instruments and plays original compositions created specifically for each dance.

“I am very impressed by the orchestra,” he said. “They project very well.” His wife, who volunteers with a local orchestra, agreed.

“The pianist, the accompanist [to the vocal soloists featured in the performance], is excellent,” added Mr. Karfunkle.


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