SAN DIEGO—Film, TV, and commercial actor Todd Conant has always been fascinated with Chinese art. It was no different when he watched New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts with his mother on Dec. 26 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
Mr. Conant said he has seen many shows, and he is impressed with Shen Yun. “The dancing is good, and it’s well put together; it’s a good program,” he said.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from lofty sights in the Himalayas to the vast, flat plains of Mongolia. An animated backdrop combined with colorful, handmade costumes create vivid images that transport audiences in time.
Mr. Conant said: “The choreography is wonderful. The outfits the women are wearing are fantastic—very, very colorful—very bright colors. I’m partially colorblind, so I love color because color like the yellows and the reds really stand out to me. They’re very beautiful. Lots of gold, and the background is very well put together.”
He said he would recommend Shen Yun to his friends. “I’d say you got to go look at these techniques; see what they’re doing.”
‘Very beautiful and artistic’
Another enthusiastic audience member was Dr. Mark Murphy, an orthopedic surgeon who has worked at the VA Hospital in San Diego for 25 years. He watched Shen Yun with nurse Imee Matias, who also works at the VA hospital. This was the first time that Dr. Murphy had seen classical Chinese dance.
“It is very, very beautiful and artistic, and it brings out the liveliness of the human spirit,” he said. “We’re all born to be free, and we can express that freedom in many different ways. So I think the expression of freedom through dance is one of the most dynamic ways to express that freedom of the spirit, and it’s very, very beautiful. Not only the historical movements of Chinese martial arts, but also the elements of the dance incorporated into it. That’s been very, very impressive. I just go ‘Wow!’”
Ms. Matias agreed and said, “The color of the costumes and the choreography is just excellent.”
After seeing Shen Yun, Dr. Murphy felt an opening up of new possibilities and new horizons for oneself. “And anybody that has an appreciation for beauty needs to come and watch Shen Yun,” he said.
Reporting by Jane Yang and Albert Roman.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at San Diego Civic Center Dec. 27 before heading to Escondido to perform at California Center for the Arts from Dec. 28 to Dec. 31.
New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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