SAN JOSE, Calif.—Business owners John and Cheri LeRoy said they were enjoying an impressive cultural experience halfway through Shen Yun Performing Arts’ evening show in San Jose on Saturday Jan. 5.
Mr. LeRoy said the show was more authentic than he had expected and not something “put together to appeal to a foreigner American audience.”
“This is more challenging and stimulating for us—we have to learn something new,” he said. “I like it from that standpoint because you’re constantly learning.”
Mrs. Leroy also enjoyed learning about the culture.
“I love it,” she said. “For us a learning opportunity and to share with us culture, customs, individual beauty, and again all the emotions that the dances represent. It’s a lovely experience.”
Based in New York, the mission of Shen Yun is to revive China’s 5,000 years of history. Shen Yun’s three companies perform in countries around the globe, but are banned in China where communist ideology conflicts with traditional values.
The performances are a compendium of classical Chinese dance set in different dynasties, traditional dances from among China’s dozens of ethnic groups, and stories of modern China that starkly contrast life under communism with the country’s ancient beliefs.
“What the different vignettes prove is that we think of China as China, [but] it’s much more like it’s a lot of different countries,” Mr. Leroy said.
“It’s pretty impressive. We all know how big China is, but you need something like this to continue to impress that on you how different it is in the different areas.”
Mr. Leroy was also impressed with the physicality of the dance and the precision of the dancers. “I’m much more impressed with the physicality and coordination, and just their discipline is so perfect.”
One of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world, classical Chinese dance incorporates difficult leaps, flips, and spins in its choreography. In addition, classical Chinese dance has a multitude of expressive gestures that convey a wealth of complex emotions.
“It’s very graceful. The costuming is beautiful,” Mrs. LeRoy said. “It’s really quite lovely.”
Reporting by Jasper Fakkert and June Kellum.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. The Shen Yun Touring Company will perform at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts through Jan. 6. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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