Massachusetts: Patrons of the Arts Flock to See Shen Yun (Photos)

( New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts enchanted audiences in Massachusetts during its seven-show run at the Boston Opera House on February 6 and 7 and at The Hanover Theater in Worcester February 9-12, 2013.

“Shen Yun Crosses All Cultures,” Says Museum Educator

Seated in the audience was Claudia Roche, a museum educator, who said the themes in Shen Yun were wonderfully universal.

“You can see how much they cross all different cultures and experiences that many other cultures have had over the years,” she said.

“This is my first time at the show and I am enjoying it very much, and learning a lot too. The costumes are beautiful, the dancing, and even the stories.”

She found the show “very interesting,” adding, “I think there’s a connection not only to Chinese spirituality but also Western spirituality. There is that connection of the stories. You could see parallels with both of them.”

Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor, the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day, according to the company website.

The unique blend of Eastern and Western instruments in the Shen Yun Orchestra and the soloists that were accompanied by piano also delighted Ms. Roche. She felt the music perfectly supported the narrative part of the performance.

“I don’t know much about the music, but I am enjoying it. It’s very appropriate for the storytelling-part of the dancing and the singing that they’ve been doing.”

The high-tech digital backdrops entertained Ms. Roche and provided an element of surprise.

“That is really fun to watch, especially when you don’t expect something to come out of the backdrop. It is kind of neat to see that, especially the first couple of times.”

Shen Yun’s digital backdrop designs complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, color of the costumes, specific dance movements, props, lighting, the story being told, particular notes played by the orchestra, and special audio effects.

Ms. Roche was also impressed by the Shen Yun costumes, which she described as “absolutely gorgeous,” adding, “It helps to make the whole production seem even more real than it really is, and it’s so colorful, and it just adds so much interest to what the performers are doing, especially to see how they use the costumes as part of their props as well.”

She also appreciated the discipline and dedication inherent in every aspect of the show.

“It must take many hours of practice—to see all the different steps as well as all the different movements that they do—to be able to get up there and perform night after night for more than one performance during the week. I can appreciate how hard it must be for them and how much work they have to put in to it.”

Joyce and Donald Starr enjoy an evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts in Worcester. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

“Outstanding, Outstanding”

Also in the audience was retired teacher Donald J. Starr, and his wife, Joyce.

“It was a great night,” he said. “Outstanding, outstanding!”

Mrs. Starr especially enjoyed the high-tech digital backdrops, “where mortals and divine beings merged as one on stage,” according to the Shen Yun website.

Mr. Starr said he wanted to seize the chance to experience Shen Yun because, “you generally see things that you’ll never have a chance to possibly see again. So we wanted to take advantage of this.” he said.

Fine Arts Professor Says Shen Yun’s Visual Effects Are “Wonderful”

Judith Bookbinder (L) and Elizabeth Essex (R) at Shen Yun Performing Arts’ performance at the Boston Opera House on Sunday, February 10. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Another delighted arts enthusiast, Judith Bookbinder, said she was visually inspired by Shen Yun and that the visual effects are “wonderful.” She was accompanied by Elizabeth Essex, a veterinarian.

“The skill of the dancers is wonderful—they’re beautiful to watch, the costumes are beautiful, and I love the visual effect of the figures that seem to come from the air and then materialize on stage,” she explained.

Ms. Bookbinder is an author and fine arts professor, who teaches a variety of courses on 19th and 20th century America and Europe at Boston College. She is also the author of two books and has curated several exhibitions at art galleries and museums.

She said the show was enchanting and that she enjoyed “lots of aspects of the presentation,” including “the visual aspect.” She also thought the quality of the dancing “is very high.”

Ms. Essex added, “The skill is amazing!”

The athleticism of classical Chinese dance, combined with its beauty and grace, also impressed Ms. Bookbinder.

“The skill of the dancers and their movements, their acrobatics and their grace, is wonderful to watch,” she said. “It’s very appealing.”

“They certainly are involved in what they are performing,” Ms. Bookbinder said, adding the performance taught the audience the “cultural inheritance” of the performers.

Boston Lawyers Say Shen Yun’s Blend of Spirit, Technology, and Artistry a Success

Kitt Sawitsky with his wife, Heather, attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Kitt Sawitsky, a partner at Goulston & Storrs, one of the country’s leading law firms, attended the performance with his wife, Heather, also an attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years.

“We’re having a great time, really enjoying the show, really enjoying, particularly, the dancing and the spirit,” Mr. Sawitsky exclaimed.

“The colors and the costumes are gorgeous, and I like the scenes of China in the background,” added Mrs. Sawitsky, referring to Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops.

Mr. Sawitsky was also impressed by the digital backdrops that display scenes from China’s multifaceted dynasties and geography and are timed precisely to interact with the dancers, creating the illusion that the artists can jump in and out of the screen.

He thought the special effects were “very well integrated with the dance,” adding, “I’ve never seen a screen in the background with the dancers coming out of it—it works.”

Ms. Sawitsky enjoyed the array of emotions the dancers were able to portray through the story-based dances.

“There is more than spirit—I think they convey a lot of emotion very, very well—the happiness, the fear, the celebration—it’s all very good,” she said.

Mr. Sawitsky also thought the bilingual emcees, who explain each dance in English and Chinese before it plays out on stage, was a nice complement to the dance.

“The are very good, very helpful, and they represent a combination of two cultures very nicely,” he said.

Tracy Klay, also a Boston-based attorney, attended the performance with his wife, Kim, director of program management at WellPoint, Inc., a leading health insurance company.

Mr. Klay especially liked the performance “Sand Monk Is Blessed,” which tells a story from the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West of a vicious ogre that is transformed into a divine being.

“That was interesting,” he said. “I thought the interplay between the screen and the actual dancers was very well done.”

Ms. Klay was struck by classical Chinese dance and folk dance, especially the large group dances.

“I love how they are all in harmony, working together—its just beautiful to watch,” she said. “The dancing is wonderful, the music is just fabulous as well, and the costumes and the sets are spectacular.”

She was also impressed by the dignity and femininity expressed by the female dancers.

“I liked when the women were dancing with the long sleeves. It was just so beautiful and the way they moved with the costumes and the sleeves—very flowing, very beautiful, very graceful.”

Shen Yun Is Spectacular,” Says Director, Producer, and Dancer

Nathan Porteshawver, director, author, playwright, and founder of the nonprofit theater company The Internet Players, said Shen Yun was a visual feast.

“I like it. It’s very spectacular, very pleasant to the eye,” he said. “The movement on stage in particular is very good—inspirational.”

It’s Fantastic!” Says Media Photographer

Jemma Craig and Mark Dunn attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Jemma Craig, a media photographer, attended the performance with home-builder Mark Dunn.

“It’s fantastic. I’m having a wonderful time, very impressed,” she said at intermission.

“I like it a lot—like the colors, like all the movements. It’s great,” added Mr. Dunn. “I’m very pleased to be here.”

After reading rave reviews about Shen Yun’s exquisite costumes, Ms. Craig was convinced that she had to get tickets for the show.

“Beautiful—the costumes are wonderful,” she said. “The style aspect was impressive.”

Former Finance Professional: Shen Yun “Really Amazing!”

Former finance professional Allison Gordon attended the show with her daughter, Isabel, an aspiring ballet dancer.

“It’s really, really amazing!” Isabel said, adding that she hoped to learn classical Chinese dance after watching Shen Yun.

“It was beautiful to see and [had] a lot of depth and history,” Ms. Gordon said. “And it was interesting also that this show comes out of New York and not out of China.”

New York-based Shen Yun was established in 2006 by classical Chinese artists from around the world who wished “to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China.”

“Completely independent of the Chinese regime, we enjoy the artistic freedom of New York to bring these ancient legends and virtues back to life,” the Shen Yun website states.

Associate Professor: Shen Yun a “Sweep of Chinese History”

Dr. Leo Shea attends Shen Yun Performing Arts Boston Opera House on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Dr. Leo Shea, a clinical associate professor of rehabilitation medicine at New York University-Langone Medical Center, was in Boston for the performance and brought along his niece.

“I think it’s colorful, and it is a wonderful sweep of Chinese history so that people who are not familiar with it can get an understanding of the various aspects that contributed to the history of the Chinese culture,” Dr. Shea explained.

Dr. Shea, who has studied and enjoys Chinese culture, said he wanted to introduce Eastern dance to his niece, who dances. He will also attend one of Shen Yun’s April performances at Lincoln Center in New York, bringing some friends, he said.

The traditional values in Shen Yun impressed him, as well as the portrayal in story-based dances of the courage of the human spirit in the face of oppression.

“The presentation, through the various dances, which they combine to create the story historically, shows the sense of Chinese culture and its commitment to humanity and, also, its need to continue to try to exercise freedom of the human spirit,” Dr. Shea said.


CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts


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