• Shen Yun: 10 Reasons to Take Your Family to see the show at the Dr. Phillips Center

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - Shen Yun is currently on their 2019 tour around the world, and will visit Orlando for six performances at the Dr. Phillips Center from March 13-17, 2019.

    Shen Yun is a New York-based performing arts organization that draws from 5,000 years of China’s civilization and cultures to create original music and dance performances.

    Here are 10 reasons to take your family to see the show

    First and foremost, the dancing is perfectly synced and mesmerizing to watch. The show has two episodes that were strictly musical performances, but its main focus and draw was the dancing. Every dancer was in perfect step, and they pulled off synchronized routines and acrobatic style moves out of intense training.

    The live music was a pleasant surprise to many viewers. Audiences have seen similar dance performances where the music is prerecorded. This is often necessary and more affordable for a traveling dance troupe, but having the live accompaniment really brought this up to the next level.

    The Shen Yun group is an ideal success story. If you want to teach your kids the importance of hard work, dedication, and persistence, Shen Yun is a living example. The organization started in 2006 with just one company and orchestra. Today, they boast six full simultaneously traveling companies—each 80-member strong with dancers, musicians, singers, emcees, and technical crew—covering 20 nations, 150 cities in 500 performances. That is some significant growth.

    A sentiment that was stressed more than once in the show is that their performances cannot be seen in China itself, because as Shen Yun website says, “the treasure that is traditional Chinese culture has been displaced by communism” in China today. This is a great lesson for young viewers that although people disagree about many things in free countries, they are fortunate to have that freedom to do so. Never take that for granted. This made for some good discussion on the way home for many viewers.

    The show has a warm and goofy sense of humor. The presentation was very formal, but it wasn’t stuffy or boring. There were plenty of jokes from Masters of Ceremony and slapstick sight gags. As impressed as older audiences can be with technique, there always needs to be something more lighthearted to keep younger audiences entertained.

    Shen Yun has displayed its patented technology on stage. One of the things Shen Yun featured was a fully animated backdrop that made it appear as if the performers could travel in and out of animated sequences with ease. This was a feat that not only took perfect timing from the performers but also required some innovative tech know-how. The result is an incredible digital backdrop that Shen Yun has been able to legally patent.

    Even the costumes tell a story. Some of the dances not only showcased historically and culturally inspired costumes, it incorporated them into the dance. This included long “water sleeves” from the Han Dynasty, Jingling charms from the Hmong village, “flower pot” shoes of the Qing Dynasty, and soaring handkerchiefs. Every piece was filled with bright color or flowing designs.

    In addition to the costumes, the audience learned about traditional Chinese folktales, witnessed dances from different eras and ethnicities, learned a word or two in Chinese, and were introduced to the sound of an erhu, a beautiful two-stringed instrument played similarly to a small cello. Parents may sneak an educational experience into entertainment without kids knowing it.

    The performers are not afraid of their geeky side. At one time, the Masters of Ceremony ask, “Do you ever wish you had a superpower?” Shen Yun’s performances did take many trips to supernatural and fantasy realms (out of this world). In their various dances, there are superpowered beings, mythical beasts, and even a jump through a dimensional loop. The stories behind the dances are explained ahead of time, but many of the pieces are easy to follow and short enough to hold the interests of all ages.

    It’s a world showcase of talent. The majority of dancers themselves were of Chinese descent, but they came from all over the world including Poland, Australia, China, the United States, Canada, France, and Japan. The orchestra’s maestro, an Armenian, conducted a group professional musicians performing on both western and traditional Chinese instruments. There was also a vocal performance by a soprano who performed in a bel canto style with Chinese diction, something many in the audience hadn’t before heard. It showed how, according to Shen Yun, ancient Chinese theater and early European opera shared the same singing technique.

    Also, the company and the local organizer want to make sure their performance meets the expectations and of everyone who sees it. This means be prepared to be approached by local representatives or sponsoring media asking you what you thought, and if you would be willing to talk about it on camera. They even had a backdrop set up in theatre’s foyer like those at award show events. This is by no means mandatory, but many people approached seemed happy to share their feelings about the show. However, they are very strict with cell phones and photos, so makes sure to keep those in your pocket or purse.

    Shen Yun is probably not something a reviwer could see at each visit, but it is recommended to see at least once. Shen Yun put on an amazing show, and you will leave with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

    Shen Yun’s current tours continue through May throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, Mexico and South America, the Middle East, and Europe. They present an entirely new show with original pieces every season. There will be six performances at Dr. Phillips Center on March 13-17. Shen Yun’s Florida tour schedule can be found at ShenYun.com/FL.

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