SPOKANE, Wash.—Classical Chinese dance is an ancient style of dance, but it’s only started receiving recognition in recent years. Since the inception of Shen Yun Performing Arts in 2006, more and more people have been embracing and coming to understand this unique and versatile dance style.

“It’s fabulous. It’s vibrant and colorful. And I love the intricate movements. They give a lot of breath and life into their movements and their expressions. And I’m really enjoying it,” said Lisa Wintrode, a stay-at-home mom and wife of Kody Wintrode, who works as an oncology account specialist.

Shen Yun is based New York, but that doesn’t stop it from having some of the world’s best artists in classical Chinese dance.

“I just think their movements are so fluid and they make it look so simple. I know it’s so difficult. And then the orchestra has been fantastic in supporting that and just playing nonstop. And so it’s really amazing to see the performers. They’re just world-class athletes up there doing their thing,” said Mr. Wintrode.

Shen Yun is dedicated to reviving 5,000 years of Chinese civilization—a China before communism.

“I spent time in Taiwan, and so I speak Chinese, and just watching this—it reminds me of why the people left China and went to Taiwan. So it’s been pretty cool to see some of the history and historical significance of the act as well,” expressed Mr. Wintrode.

Audience members often see martial arts, acrobatics, and gymnastics in Shen Yun’s performances, but acrobatics and gymnastics originate from classical Chinese dance, while martial arts also originate from Chinese culture, so naturally, there are similarities.

“It kind of reminds me a little bit of martial arts, too, like the men’s dance. It’s very interesting to learn more about the history. And I’m part Chinese too. So there’s a lot of things that I didn’t know and I’m learning as I watch,” said Mrs. Wintrode.

Shen Yun artists are also well-versed in the dance styles of the different regions in China. From the Mongolian steppe to the welcoming southern warmth, the dancers must understand the culture there to correctly represent the region.

“I enjoyed that piece with the snow because it was very energetic. And it reminded me a little bit of folk dancing. And it just looked like a lot of fun. And it was kind of like fresh as if you were skiing or snowboarding through the mountains,” said Mrs. Wintrode, referring to a Tibetan dance.

The dances of Shen Yun are inspired by Chinese history, literature, and mythology. “Journey to the West” is seen in this year’s production.

“I think they have some really significant cultural pieces in it as well. In college, we studied a lot about the Monkey King, and I had to read the book “The Scholars.” So there’s a lot of historical value and significance to what we’re seeing too. So being able to see all of this in this kind of format is just wonderful,” shared Mr. Wintrode.

According to Shen Yun’s website, Chinese culture is divinely inspired. There has always been a strong belief in the divine throughout the dynasties. Shen Yun is striving to remind people of these important values.

“I also think there’s a lot of universal messages about heaven and culture and preservation and social justice and peace,” said Mrs. Wintrode.

Reporting by Frank Zhang and Maria Han.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.


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