ESCONDIDO, Calif.—A mother and her artist daughter saw Shen Yun at California Center for the Arts on Dec. 29, and each had a nuanced and philosophical response to the performance. Mrs. Kim Ruby is a certified nutritionist, and her daughter Jennifer Barber a painter.
Miss Barber said, “I think the phoenix dance was so breathtaking. The way everything flowed, and the dresses, and the girls.” She said the Phoenix Fairies was the most captivating dance for her.
According to the program, “With every movement, their shimmering skirts echo the endless depths of a star-speckled sky.”
As an artist, she particularly responded the unusual use of color in Shen Yun: “Everything was so bright and vibrant, and I haven’t seen too much of such pastel colors put together and put together in an aesthetically pleasing way, because they’re difficult colors to work with.” She added that the colors helped create an atmosphere of hope and happiness.
Mrs. Ruby also praised Shen Yun. “I thought it was beautifully graceful. I thought going to the different provinces was a wonderful twist,” she said. Shen Yun portrays a variety regions and ethnic groups of China.
Miss Barber’s best friend in elementary and middle school was Chinese. “So I got to do a lot with her grandparents, and they would read to me and talk to me about everything,” she said. That experience fed her lifelong interest in Asian culture. “I do know a good amount of Chinese culture, because I like all the Asian cultures, so I’ve researched a lot.”
Her mother also sounded like an artist or a poet in her comments. “The costumes, their costumes were graceful, but they were graceful themselves. How they could move, and how limber, and how they could bend, and how they were always a team. They were always a beautiful … they were an extension of each other, like a wing of a bird. That’s what it reminded me of—they were all together like a wing of a bird.”
Mrs. Ruby spoke of the performance from a spiritual perspective too. Reflecting on the last dance, Divine Mercy, she said, “If you don’t have peace in your own home, in your own heart, in your own family, and your own block, and your own community, you don’t have peace in the world.”
A theme in the performance, according to the program book, is the traditional Chinese belief that “Heaven protects the righteous, and goodness ultimately triumphs.”
Mrs. Ruby expressed a similar thought. “Because God’s greatest attribute is justice. Love, for sure, but justice for sure.”
Reporting by Hannah Cai and Mary Silver.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will be performing in Sacramento from Jan. 2 to Jan.3. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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