ESCONDIDO, Calif.-“Exceptional, magnificent,” were the words Dr. Ramon Chavra used to describe Shen Yun Performing Arts. “It’s perfect,” said his wife, choreographer Janelle Chavra.
New York-based Shen Yun was warmly greeted by its audience at the California Center for the Performing Arts. Dr. Chavra, professor at the University of California in Mexico, noticed how especially kind and charming all the dancers were.
“Dance is one part of human culture,” explains the company’s website. “Classical Chinese dance is grounded in 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, and is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics.”
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is an exceptional blend of Chinese and Western classical instruments, offering a special ethereal quality to the dancers.
The Chavras found the music perfect and wonderful. Although Dr. Ramon is more accustomed to “simple background music,” he felt “the orchestra is much better.”
Along with colorful handmade costumes that enrich the entire production, Shen Yun’s original choreography, innovative musical score, and operatic pieces combine to revive classic literature and ancient myths of China’s nearly lost culture.
Vibrantly animated backdrops designed by Shen Yun’s team of digital artists create an illusion of heaven and earth coming together as one; transporting the audience into another world.
“The backdrops are magical windows to completely different realms,” states Shen Yun’s website. “From vast open grasslands in one dance to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilions in another; from dusty yellow battlegrounds to tropical beaches to Himalayan peaks to picturesque scenery of the Yellow River Delta—the digital projection infinitely expands and transforms the stage.”
“I liked the video effect and also the projection,” said Dr. Ramon. “For me, that was … wow, wonderful! They come from heaven and go to earth.”
All levels of society, including gallant heroes, fearless generals, brilliant strategists, and unwavering monks are found in classical Chinese literature. These stories reflect the heart of traditional Chinese culture, faith in the divine, and the Mandate of Heaven.
Dr. Ramon enjoyed the pieces that include martial arts, which stems from classical Chinese dance. He also enjoyed the piece Sand Monk is blessed, which details a part of the monk’s adventure in the Chinese classic Journey to the West, and When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emporer, a story about the history of the famed Shaolin monastery.
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Maria Banks.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be 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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