Monday, April 23, 2012

Away From Books to...Shen Yun 2012

Over the weekend I experienced the brilliance of Shen Yun Performing Arts 2012.  All I can say is -- Breathtaking! In the opulence of Lincoln Center, Shen Yun is performed by classical Chinese dancers that are so lithe you fear they have no bones or cartilage!  The choreography, the timing, the precision and most of all the stories that are portrayed in each little skit (approx. 12 in all) transports you to times past.

Shen Yun comes to New York every year and each time the extravaganza is different.  So, seeing it once does not mean you've seen it all.  In this year's performance, one of my favorite pieces was The Monkey King.  There is a large screen at the back of the stage that depicts various scenes from ancient China and for this scene with the Monkey King it was a backdrop of large majestic mountains.  The Monkey burst from it and bounded his way down the mountainside and exploded onto the stage in an amazing trick of the eye and precise timing so it appeared as the the holographic Monkey King from the screen magically popped out and became real!  Totally amazing!

Flower Fairies was also a favorite of mine.  The stage was covered by a thick layer of white "clouds" (smoke machine) and the dancers dressed in flowing white and pink dresses undulated with style, flair and absolute precision and grace to emulate sprites that have come to Earth to play.

I can go on and on about Silk Sleeves or Lotus Leaves and what we call acrobatics and gymnastics executed perfectly but I will not.  You have to see it!  And, just a note, the leaps, arials, and other tumbling rolls seen in Shen Yun is an integral part of classical Chinese dancing.  We were told that other art forms have co-opted some of the moves but it is not acrobatics in these performances.  Chinese classical dancing is very complex and contains moves and gestures that are indicative and specific to their ethnic identity.

So I tell you again, if you get a chance to see Shen Yun -- take it!!

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