Heavenly music, breathtaking dances, enchanting landscapes and timeless legends are hallmarks of Shen Yun Performing Arts. Based in upstate New York, the company is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the Chinese classical performing arts to the level of artistry and dignity it had achieved before the communist takeover of mainland China. As part of the company’s unique approach, the dances and scores lend an artistic treatment to legendary tales and ancient themes, as well as important social issues in contemporary China.
Since its inception more than five years ago, Shen Yun Performing Arts has done more to promote traditional Chinese culture than any other performance company in the world. Classical Chinese dance, which is Shen Yun’s trademark, is one of the most expressive — and most demanding — art forms in the world. Every year Shen Yun creates a whole new production with original dances and costumes and music. By adding the distinctive melodies of ancient Chinese instruments over Western orchestration Shen Yun brings together two of the greatest musical traditions the world has ever known. The intricate costumes and headpieces offer a glimpse into the richness and diversity of China’s past. Skilled designers create large scale digital backdrops that whisk the audience off to faraway lands. After countless hours of training and rehearsal, and after each piece has been crafted down to the minutest detail, Shen Yun is ready to embark on a world tour.
“We want to provide our audiences with an experience of consummate beauty and goodness,” said Timothy Wu, a principal dancer from North Wales, Pennsylvania. “We want to bring out what is timeless and most precious from the culture.”
The year 2012 will be off to a dazzling start locally, as this season’s all-new program will showcase ancient legends, new ethnic and folk dance selections and other stories depicted through exuberant and technically superlative Chinese dance ensemble work, accompanied by the Shen Yun orchestra, which blends Eastern and Western instruments through original scores. Featured virtuoso vocal and instrumental soloists will also perform new and original works. Since the company’s public debut in 2007, this year marks Shen Yun’s sixth consecutive appearance in Philadelphia.
Shen Yun Performing Arts returns to Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street. Ticket prices start at $90. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts at www.ShenYun2012.com. For ticket orders, call (215) 893-1999 or visit www.kimmelcenter.org.