2014 Shen Yun Season Comes to a Close
MEMORABLE MOMENTS AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR SHEN YUN PERFORMERS
Shen Yun Performing Arts’ 2014 season ended with Sunday’s performances in Vienna, Austria and Jacksonville, Florida.
After five months of tour across five continents and 19 countries, Shen Yun’s tired company members are heading home to New York. During dinner after the last show in Vienna, we asked a few of them two questions: “What was your most memorable moment from this year’s tour?” And, “What are you most looking forward to about going home?”
Here’s what they answered:
Principal Dancer Yuxuan Liu
Memorable moment: Striking the stage after the final show in Geneva. We packed everything into the trucks until 2am, with Lake Geneva under the moonlight in the background.
Looking forward to about being back: Learning new dances for next year’s season.
Conductor Milen Nachev
Memorable moment: On an evening off in Berlin, going to hear the Berlin Philharmonic play Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major.
Looking forward to about being back: First, vacation. And then our Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert tour.
Principal Dancer Alvin Song
Memorable moment: After the last performance in Barcelona, a few of us changed, took off our makeup, and walked out to the lobby. A few audience members were still there and recognized us. You could see from their eyes they were soooo happy after the show. They asked if we could take a photo together. When we said “sure,” they jumped like 10 feet in the air. I’ve never seen someone that happy before. Then, more and more people joined us for the photo. And there was a little boy, maybe 6 years old, who grabbed my leg and just hugged it as we took the photo. It was so cute.
Looking forward to about being back: Relaxing in the Caribbean.
Principal Dancer Cheryl Lin
Memorable moment: Performing on a very slanted stage in Milan. It was sharply angled downwards, as if you would roll into the orchestra pit. This type of stage is more common for ballet but rare for classical Chinese dance. I had never performed on one before, and had difficult spins and splits to execute, so it was a little scary at first. Then I told myself to just think the stage is flat, and just do it. And I did; we all did.
Looking forward to about being back: Starting a new season—new challenges, new places to see, new things to learn, new things to try.
Soprano Seron Guang Ling Chau
Memorable moment: Hearing, when I’m about to sing, a whisper go through the crowd as the curtain opens and we look at each other for the first time. I imagine they’re saying to each other: “She’s so skinny for a soprano!”
Looking forward to about being back: Sleeping in my own bed.
Principal Dancer Ben Chen
Memorable moment: Today, the last day of tour! We just finished and, during the final show, I especially cherished every moment on stage, every dance for the last time. Next year it will be a completely different show and these pieces will never be on stage again, so I treasured everything today.
Another moment is when, during the dance “The Steadfast Lotus,” the Buddhas come down from the projection on to the stage. I can see the first row of the audience, almost in perfect unison, lift their hands to wipe a way a tear. I see this every show.
Oh, one more moment—because there were too many—in Milan. After the performance I went out to the lobby to meet my mom, who came to watch the show. I tried to be very discrete. I changed into street clothes and stood in a quiet corner of the lobby. But still, so many people spotted me and one older Italian lady came up. She started speaking to me in Italian, grabbed my hand and shook it with both her hands. She wouldn’t let go and looked me straight in the eye and kept speaking Italian. All I could understand was “Bellissimo! Bellissimo!”
And a final one: After touring with Shen Yun for six years, this year, for the first time, I got to be in the group that performs in England, the country I call home.
Looking forward to about being back: Meeting fellow dancers from the other companies. We will get together and have a HUGE party!
Principal Dancer Nancy Wang
Memorable moment: One of our dancers, Yuwen Lin, twisted her ankle getting off the bus and we weren’t sure she would be able to dance the next day. But the entire day before the performance she was just really focused, quietly doing what she needed to do to overcome it. When showtime came, she was terrific, as usual.
Looking forward to about being back: Having access to a proper dance studio—any time I want!
Flutist Chiarung Lee
Memorable moment: Prague—we had to do setup, two performances, and strike the stage in one day. The first people arrived at the theater at 1am to prepare the stage and others came throughout the early morning. We had sound check right after breakfast, then a show at 2pm, another at 7pm, and then packing late into the night. When I first heard about this schedule, I thought: “Can we make it?” But we did, and the performances went really well. I was really touched by how everyone worked so well together, such great chemistry quietly helping each other. No one complained about being tired. It was the most special day.
Looking forward to about being back: Being back at our campus in the mountains. It’s so tranquil there, like another world. I really feel like that’s my home.