If one was to stop and watch the audience exit the State Theatre at Playhouse Square following the nearly sold-out Saturday matinee performance of Shen Yun you would notice immediately that the crowd represented every race of people that call Cleveland home. Cleveland has always been known as an all American city with one of the most diverse populations in the entire United States. The Shen Yun performance showed how its universal appeal is able to bring people of diverse backgrounds to celebrate the joy of superb dancing.
Shen Yun showcases over 5,000 years of classical Chinese dance tradition in a series of seventeen unique vignettes. With nearly a half dozen principle dancers as well an ensemble cast of dozens of superb dancers, the cast weaves a variety of easily understood story lines that carry a strong social, spiritual, romantic or moral theme.
What is most dazzling is the synchronicity that is evident in each and every dance sequence. With over two dozen dancers on stage, the group ebbs and flows in a total mirror image of each other right down to the smallest of hand gestures.
The reason for this perfection is the way in which the organization is run. Six months is spent in intense training and rehearsing before sending the four dance troupes and orchestras around the world to perform. The result is self evident in that you see dancing like no other company can even come close to performing.
Each segment is explained in detail by two emcees using both English and Chinese.
Along with the dance segments this year are performances by two sopranos, Rachel Yu Ming Bastick and Huang Li (both of which are accompanied by pianist, Jingya Mahlen). It should also be mentioned that the orchestra for the Shen Yun Performances is in itself quite unique in that they have combined classical orchestra instruments with traditional Chinese instruments.
The performances all originate at the Fei Tian Academy of the Arts and Fei Tian College located in New York City in which the principles of Falun Dafa meditation and spiritualism are taught. Falun Dafa adheres to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance which can be seen on stage during the variety of staged stories and traditional dance numbers.
This year’s numbers (each year a completely original and different show is presented) include Salvation and Renewal (Chinese Dance Story), Tang Dynasty Grace (Classical Chinese Dance), Poets of the Orchid Pavilion (Classical Chinese Dance), Monkey King and the Dragon Palace (Chinese Dance Story), Celebrating the Divine (Ethnic Dance), Monks and the Red Guard (Chinese Dance Story), Manchurian Maidens (Classical Chinese Dance), The Steadfast Heart (Chinese Dance Story), Choose the Right Future (Soprano with piano accompaniment), and Drums of the Grasslands (Ethnic Dance). Following the intermission the show concluded with Fairies of the Sea (Classical Chinese Dance), The Lady of the Moon (Chinese Dance Story), The Mystical Udumbara (Classical Chinese Dance), A Joyful Harvest (Folk Dance), Sleeves of the Sui Dynasty (Classical Chinese Dance), Defending the Throne (Chinese Dance Story), Handkerchiefs (Folk Dance), Bringing You Back to Heaven (Soprano with piano accompaniment) and Hope for the Future (Chinese Dance Story).
Tickets are still available for the Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 performances at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $150, $120, $100, $90, $80, $70, $60. Tickets may be purchased by stopping by the Playhouse Square Ticket Office located in the outer lobby of the State Theatre.
If you are a lover of dance, this is one performance that you will not want to miss. It is a spectacle that incorporates phenomenal choreography, incredible gymnastics, colorful costumes, great music and dazzling video special effects making it an experience for the entire family that will be talked about for years to come.