By a Clearwisdom correspondent
(Clearwisdom.net) Shen Yun Performing Arts continued its five-show run at the distinguished Lincoln Center in New York City on Saturday, January 14, 2012. With no spare seats in sight, Shen Yun performed at the grand David H. Koch Theater, the home of the New York City Ballet.
The tickets for nearly all of Shen Yun’s January performances at the prestigious venue were sold out in advance. The company plans to return to the Lincoln Center for encore performances in April.
Ballet dancer: “It’s perfect”
Among the audience members at the sold-out Saturday matinee was Mr. Robert Graham, a professional ballet dancer.
“It’s very beautiful,” said Mr. Graham of the classical Chinese dance at the intermission. “A lot of the athleticism is very impressive.”
Mr. Robert Graham
With a vast range of intricate movements and sophisticated tumbling, jumping and spinning techniques, classical Chinese dance is considered to be one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world. Its deep focus on artistic bearing allows the dancers to authentically portray both the emotions of the characters played and the inner meanings of the rich cultural traditions passed down through generations.
“The story lines were easy to follow,” noted Mr. Graham, referring to the expressiveness of the dance. “As the pieces developed, they became very, very animated—and the characterizations were actually not over the top, they were very appropriate for the style.”
Along with the costumes, the dancers’ facial expressions brought a deeper dimension to each story, he added: “It helps to see their faces—they look very much involved in what they are doing.”
Mr. Graham was likewise impressed with the integration of the music and the backdrop with the dance. “It’s perfect,” he said. “Everything is very much on point. Even with the display in the background [backdrop] and how that correlates with the [dance] pieces, everything is done very well—it’s almost like mathematics.”
Through the performance, Mr. Graham also gained a better understanding of the difficulties Falun Dafa practitioners face in contemporary China, where they are being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime for their spiritual belief. “I had heard a little bit about it from a friend and about some of his relatives being imprisoned for a while in China [for practicing Falun Dafa]. … I didn’t know it was so widely understood, and seeing it here actually makes me want to go and look it up a little bit more to see what has been going on,” he said.
“I didn’t know what I was going to see when I came, but it’s been very, very fantastic as a matter of fact—very interesting,” concluded Mr. Graham. “It’s just very, very clean—something very well put together.”
Corporate manager: “It just blew me away”
Mr. Kwesi Cumberbatch, a field supervisor at GMSC, found the performance more entertaining, educational and inspiring than he had expected.
“I really liked it,” said Mr. Cumberbatch at the conclusion of the show. “I came into it thinking it was going to be a decent show, but as I saw the performance and the choreography and the background [animated backdrop], it just blew me away.”
Mr. Kwesi Cumberbatch
Mr. Cumberbatch appreciated learning about China’s vast cultural heritage through the performance and said he was inspired to find out even more. “I learned a lot about [traditional Chinese culture],” he said. “I didn’t really know too much about it [before the show]. However, with the dancing and how they explained it, it made me know a little more—and now I want to actually do some research to find out a little more about Chinese culture.”
Mr. Cumberbatch also saw a lot of value in the spiritual theme intertwined throughout the performance, which highlighted the divinely inspired cultural heritage of China spanning thousands of years. “Whatever beliefs you have, you should believe in something—because if you believe in nothing, then in my opinion, you are basically lost,” he said, adding that having a belief in the divine “definitely makes you not only a stronger person, but a person who could more help other people.”
Mr. Cumberbatch was shocked to learn that Falun Dafa practitioners in China are being persecuted for their peaceful spiritual belief. “I believe it is absolutely deplorable the way that they [Falun Dafa practitioners in China] are being persecuted and being treated because of their beliefs,” he said. “Hopefully, [the Chinese communist regime] can get a lot more insight and they can broaden their horizon and stop this persecution.”
Beauty Salon Owner: “It’s great”
Ms. Georgia Joseph-Grant, an accountant and president of the Freeport Business Support Group, attended the performance with several friends, including Ms. Indiana Seltzer, owner of a beauty parlor on Long Island.
“It’s very, very, very good. I enjoyed it,” enthused Ms. Joseph-Grant at the intermission. “And I loved the costumes, the colors—it’s very colorful!”
Ms. Seltzer agreed. “I love the whole thing. It’s great!”she said, adding that she had never seen a performance like this before.
Both women were impressed with the animated backdrops that added a modern flare to the ancient tales presented on stage. “I thought that was excellent,” said Ms. Joseph-Grant to the agreement of Ms. Seltzer, who called the integration of the animation with the dance “very realistic.”
The women also found great the value in the traditional aspect of the cultural heritage presented by Shen Yun, relating it to modern life. “We emerge and grow from the old,” noted Ms. Grant.
Having not known about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China prior to the show, Ms. Seltzer was also glad to learn about the true situation from the dance called “The Choice,” which highlighted the oppression that Falun Dafa practitioners currently face in the mainland. “I didn’t know that they were prohibited [from practicing Falun Dafa in China],” she said, finding it shocking that the persecution has continued to this day.