Five thousand years in 2½ hours. As impossible as it seems, Shen Yun presented a cultural survey of sorts that encompassed 5,000 years at the Orpheum Theater last night with a memorable production of traditional Chinese dance and music.
Loosely interpreted, Shen Yun means “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” and the Chinese art form is unlike anything audiences familiar with only Western dance — traditional or contemporary — are likely to have seen before. It’s highly acrobatic — characterized by quick flips, gravity defying leaps and rapid turns — and in that respect somewhat akin to martial arts. It’s also extremely graceful, and dancers, particularly the women, move with lithe agility and grace.