SAN DIEGO—”It was beautiful. It was masterful,” said Jennifer Sheridan, a business consultant, referring to Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance and music company that performed at San Diego Civic Theatre on Dec. 26.
Ms. Sheridan attended the performance with her mother and daughter. “We’re three generations here tonight,” she said.
Shen Yun is a New York-based dance and music company that will travel to 150 cities worldwide during its 2013 season. With the mission to restore and revive traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun transports audiences to famous historical scenes and distant lands.
Ms. Sheridan found the historical background interesting, and she noted the importance of bringing that Chinese history to America.
Shen Yun is based outside of China so that its artistic creators have the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture. Over the past 60 years of communist rule, China’s rich cultural heritage has been all but demolished.
Ms. Sheridan applauds this aspect of Shen Yun.
“The organizers told me, upon asking, that this is not shown in China, and I asked them if they were discriminated against, the cast, the crew, the performers, the organizers, by the current communist regime … and they said yes they were, discriminated and could not perform [in China], and really were at risk if they do perform. So, I think it’s very significant and very brave of them to do that. [That] makes it important for us to support them here [in the US].”
Looking from a broad perspective, Ms. Sheridan enjoys the idea of Shen Yun.
“I think it’s very beautiful to see a culture look at itself and then decide the important parts of their history and present it, especially combining it with art, dance, performing arts,” she said.
The costumes were also such a huge part of the beauty and the aesthetics of it—very well done.
She also appreciated the finer aspects of the performance, saying, “The costumes were also such a huge part of the beauty and the aesthetics of it—very well done.”
Shen Yun includes a collection of short pieces, each with its own theme, storyline, animated backdrop, and costumes. Many aspects come together to create a visual spectacle.
This visual spectacle is displayed through classical Chinese dance, and accentuating the dance are digital backdrops.
Ms. Sheridan’s daughter, Georgena, is a dancer, and she wanted to give a special thanks to Michelle Ren, a choreographer and lead dancer for Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company.
“I would say special cheers [to] Michelle Ren for her choreography,” she said. “I feel like I could sense her touch in particular dances and just really beautiful mastery of the levels and the color uses, and the costume design. Everything was very precise [with] some sort of elegance within the mathematics of it, too.”
She was particularly impressed with the Mongolian Bowl Dance.
“It was just very engaging choreography that kept me interested in where the dancers were going and the merging together, the blending and pulling apart. I think I really appreciated the sense of expansion and how in one quick snap of the fingers there was a [movement] that completely brought them back into alignment, so the sense of fluffing out and then coming back in, really, it was very textured. Everything was perfectly timed and matched,” she said.
Reporting by Jane Lin and Albert Roman.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at the San Diego Civic Center on Dec. 27 before heading to Escondido for performances at the California Center for the Arts from Dec. 28 to 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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