Traditional Chinese dance transformed

PHILADELPHIA - December 18, 2011

It's called Shen Yun and it's a dance company that was formed by a group of top Chinese artists with the goal of reviving traditional Chinese culture and celebrating 5000 years of Chinese civilization.

Shen Yun performs classical Chinese dance, traditional ethnic and folk dances from China's diverse regions and ethnic groups in styles that have been passed down through the dynasties.

"It's very expressive. It can be subtle and explosive," said Vina Lee.

Once known as the land of the divine, the Chinese believe their culture is divinely inspired, passed down from the heavens.

Shen Yun hopes to pass that colorful culture on to people around the globe.

"You hear these ancient Chinese instruments leading the melodies with their distinct tones and styles on top of a large ensemble of western strings, winds, brass, and percussion. The result is a dramatic, highly expressive new sound," Ying Chen.

The stage is set to take audiences on an inspiring journey from the Himalayas to China's tropical lake-filled region with from ancient legends to contemporary stories of courage.

"We have gorgeous costumes, digital projection that brings the stage to life and a unique, one-of-a-kind orchestra that combines both traditional western and Chinese instruments," said Leeshai Lemish.

Shen Yun will put on four performances at the Merriam Theatre from Jan. 6-Jan. 8.

For tickets and scheduling go to, KimmelCenter.org.

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