COSTA MESA, Calif.—Dr. Astrid Sheil, an associate communications professor with California State University San Bernardino, described Shen Yun Performing Arts’ first performance in Costa Mesa on Friday as “superb.”
“It’s a gorgeous variety of techniques I’ve never seen, all on one stage,” she said. She added that she loved the humor contained in the show.
“I really love the storylines. I found myself enchanted. It’s incredible, the backdrop. I love the symbolism of the gods coming down. Truly beautiful. I’ve been totally enchanted by the whole thing,” she said.
Shen Yun, based in New York, seeks to revive five millenia of traditional Chinese culture, which according to its website, is divinely inspired.
Saul and Clara Lankster, both educators, and their family were struck by the precise dance movements.
“I was struck by the synchronicity of the movement as they [danced],” Mrs. Lankster, a college professor, said after watching the show at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Shen Yun’s performers are trained in classical Chinese dance—an ancient but comprehensive style—to convey the inner meanings of Chinese culture.
They also interact with a digital backdrop that shows fluidity and movement, depicting scenes from China, the heavens, mountaintops, and other locations.
The dancing “was real life, and then [came] through the background,” Mrs. Lankster said, referring to the performers’ interaction with the backdrop. She added, “The ladies and men moved so perfectly. It was seamless, absolutely seamless.”
Classical Chinese dance, which has been refined over thousands of years, is capable of transmitting the essence of traditional Chinese culture, as it has its own unique set of movements, postures, and expressions, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“It was almost like they were on rollers at times, across the stage,” Mr. Lankster said.
Mrs. Lankster, who has two adopted Chinese daughters, said she took them to Shen Yun “to see the different parts of China.” She added, “It was good for the girls.”
Reporting by Sophia Fang and Jack Phillips.
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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