NEW YORK—Bursting with color and vitality, the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York came alive with the Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company Saturday afternoon. The first show to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year and Year of the Tiger had the audience enthralled. The audience enthusiastically called for an encore from soprano Geng Haolan, who sang “Reaching the Other Shore” initially and then “Awakening” to follow up.
Midge Pych, director of the Family Resource Center in Connecticut, said the show was wonderful.
“It’s definitely worth seeing—very colorful, and in a way you definitely could remember it later on,” she said at intermission. “It was quick moving and colorful, and the background scenes are wonderful.”
The digital backdrops at Shen Yun bring classical Chinese dance into the 21st century, giving each scene added visual depth and grandeur. From majestic celestial palaces to sprawling Mongolian grasslands, each backdrop is designed to match a dance’s costumes, story line, lighting, and choreography.
Using Chinese classical dance and music, stories from ancient China through today are performed in handmade silk costumes.
“When it tells a story, nobody is talking and you know what the story is,” Ms. Pych said. “It’s like what they did with the tiger, and he drank three glasses of wine. There was no vocabulary, there was just the music and the movement.”
The dance Ms. Pych refers to is Wu Song Battles the Tiger. In this scene from one of China’s most beloved novels, Outlaws of the Marsh, a man-eating tiger plagues a small village that borders a forest.
On the outskirts of town lies an inn whose alcohol is so potent that a sign proclaims, “Three Bowls of Wine and You Have to Stay the Night.” Hunters who try to take on the tiger fail. But when a village man is killed, the mighty Wu Song decides to stalk the beast himself. After imbibing a full three bowls at the inn he stumbles off the save the day.