LOS ANGELES—Tonya Kay, professional dancer and actress, and Wayne Yonenaka, personal chef, spent an afternoon with Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Jan. 26.
“I love the show,” Mr. Yonenaka said. “Beautiful.”
Ms. Kay also said she loved the performance. “I was in tears at the beginning of the show for about two numbers because it was so beautiful,” she said.
Ms. Kay is a dancer, actress, writer, and stunt artist, as well as a green living activist and raw vegan celebrity. She won Best Supporting Actress in 2011 by the Los Angeles Movie Awards for her role of Kielle in the TV series Silver Lake. Ms. Kay also toured for three years in Stomp and owns two green film/TV businesses, Happy Mandible, Inc. and Solid Hollywood, LLC.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based company that has the mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture through music and dance.
During a Shen Yun performance, the audience is treated to the highest level of classical Chinese dance—dance accompanied by a live orchestra, accentuated by an interactive digital backdrop, and interspersed with ethnic and folk dances along with solo vocalists and musicians.
From Ms. Kay’s dance background, she noticed a lot of differences between Chinese classical dance and ballet. American Ballet usually makes heavy use of its principal dancers, while Shen Yun seemed to her to be more ensemble-based, which she liked. Ms. Kay also noticed that the Shen Yun dancers walk in a gliding motion without ballet’s constant focus on toe-pointing.
Ms. Kay was amazed at how the female dancers could do very difficult moves with their elegant costumes. She noted the “females even had long dresses on and [were] doing flips.”
Classical Chinese dance requires certain exacting postures, difficult technique of tumbling, leaps and spins, and an inner quality called “bearing,” which allows the dancers to express deeper meaning.
The spiritual aspect of Shen Yun piqued Ms. Kay’s interest, but she wanted to learn more. “I don’t think I understand Chinese culture enough,” she said.
“They tried to give us that at the end—what’s going on with Chinese culture, spirituality-wise, with the persecution. I’m going to go home and learn more.”
Ms. Kay described Shen Yun as, “A montage of beauty, colors, textures, technique, and storytelling.”
Reporting by Yaning Liu and Sarah Le.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Jan. 25 through 27. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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