COSTA MESA, Calif.—A father-daughter birthday date brought Amber Davis and her father Mark Davis to Segerstrom Hall for a matinee on Jan. 20. Though her birthday had already passed, Ms. Davis was thrilled with the opportunity to attend with her father. During the intermission, she said, “I saw the fliers being passed around at my school from the teacher. I brought the flier to my dad and said, ‘I want this for my birthday.’”
Mr. Davis said he wanted to come see Shen Yun as well but was motivated even more by his daughter, “because she really wanted to see the dance and she’s really enlightened me a little bit on this.”
Ms. Davis attends Irvine Valley College and is registered in the dance program. She said she is an aspiring dancer studying mostly ballet and modern dance.
Shen Yun’s base is classical Chinese dance, one of the most ancient and most difficult art forms in the world. The dancers wear handmade silk costumes and are accompanied by a live orchestra and digital backdrops.
Ms. Davis said the dancing she was observing was unique. “It is new and refreshing,” she said. “It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen.”
“I think it’s great,” said Mr. Davis. “I love the colors, I love the dances. It’s telling a really good story.”
Through different stories and legends from different eras and dynasties, Shen Yun tells an overarching story that is replete with the culture’s core values, such as benevolence, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a respect for the heavens and divine retribution, according to the company’s website.
Ms. Davis particularly enjoyed the Mongolian Bowl Dance. According to the program, “traditional Mongolian dance is strong yet gentle, with flexible wrists, pliable arms, and a signature shoulder shake.”
In addition to an orchestra that combines both classical Western and Chinese instruments, Shen Yun features vocal soloists who perform between some of the dance pieces.
Mr. Davis especially connected with the singing of one of the soloists.
“Beautiful,” he said. “Great voice and great levels of tone. She can get some high notes there.”
“She’s so tiny, but such a big voice,” said Ms. Davis.
Ms. Davis also appreciated the handmade costumes—“so beautiful”—and the digital backdrops—“the background always supports the story pretty well.”
She was not expecting the opportunity to go with her father to the performance. When she received the gift, she was very excited, she said, “because this is different. It’s a memory.”
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Robin Kemker.
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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