COSTA MESA, Calif.—“Magnificent! It’s one of a kind! Terrific,” said Don Miller after he and his wife, Loretta, attended Shen Yun Touring Company’s closing night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Mr. and Mrs. Miller own an 11-year-old company, ‘Bibles by the Case.’
“Loved it!” Mrs. Miller said. “Loved the show. Loved the show. The colors were just—the costumes—were beautiful!”
Shen Yun is a nonprofit organization based in upstate New York, with a quest to revive the true, divinely-inspired culture of China.
The brilliantly-colored costumes in Shen Yun represent the diverse aspects of the rich ancient Chinese culture, from the Tang Dynasty attire, from imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, cloud capes, from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor.
“Loved it very much,” Mr. Miller said. “We’ll be back next year, when we get to see something different. They are terrific performers. Synchronized. Beautiful colors, and it’s all traditional—it’s Chinese at the best.”
Classical Chinese dance has a history of thousands of years. Soaking up the profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete dance system, comprised of three main components—bearing, form, and technical skill.
Mrs. Miller noted the choreography. “We read in the book about the choreographers for the show, and they did a magnificent job.” She said that the synchronization of “everything they did was right on,” both the men’s and women’s dancing. “It was just beautiful.”
A unique orchestra accompanies each Shen Yun performance. The orchestra combines the beauty of Chinese and Western instruments, which provides a magical and refreshing sound.
“The performers are so great you almost forgot how good the orchestra is. The orchestra is there, but you don’t see them, and your mind is on the performers. And the singers, oh, the solo singers were just terrific,” Mr. Miller said.
“What a combination. And to think they put it together in one year, with the practice, and then back on the road again!”
Two bilingual emcees guide the audience before each vignette by giving them the information needed to enhance their enjoyment and understanding.
“I was very impressed with the people who stood up in between and told about what was coming,” Mrs. Miller said. “It was really neat for them to give us a tip about what was coming, so we would understand it a little bit more.”
Digital backdrops provide animated settings for each piece, transporting the audience into the environment of ancient China and helping them journey to another time and space.
“We didn’t expect the technology on the background screen,” Mr. Miller said. “How they disappear and come back and are floating away. And it’s synchronous.”
“I had never seen that before,” added Mrs. Miller. “Going into the sky. That was just all extra. You didn’t know that was going to even happen. All in all it was a beautiful show.”
Mr. Miller related what the show had highlighted for him: “Peace, tranquility, and just plain do-the-right-thing, whenever possible—what it should be. I mean, the culture is so outstanding and so old, but yet this seems new.”
Mrs. Miller added, “I think anything that you can go and see like this … it enhances your life to see something so beautiful—I just thought that was wonderful.”
Reporting by SOH Radio Network and Cheryl Casati.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform in Thousand Oaks at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Jan. 22 and 23, and downtown 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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