ESCONDIDO, Calif.—Maria Figueroa, a ballet dancer for 40 years and owner of a dance academy in Mexico, her place of residence, couldn’t believe her eyes when watching Shen Yun Performing Arts at the California Center for the Arts.
“I am very surprised,” she said, “and I cannot believe it.”
Even though it was Maria’s third time seeing Shen Yun, she was in total awe: “How can they do it, these beautiful movements?”
The harmony, beauty, discipline, technique, and choreography—“everything”—struck her.
Ms. Figueroa said that seeing Shen Yun once is like being given a gift.
“This is my third time, and I am very, very happy,” she said, describing the performance as “magic.”
Her sister Luisa, a high school teacher, said that this is Maria’s third time visiting San Diego; the family aligns the visits with when Shen Yun is in town.
“Oh yes,” said Luisa, “coming to Shen Yun is such a blessing!”
The New York-based Shen Yun traverses the globe with one mission: “reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture,” according to the company’s website.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” the website states.
Maria said that the performance was fantastic and she “cannot believe that perfection.”
“How do they achieve such perfection in movements and expression?” Luisa added. “Because sometimes you have technique but not expression.” Maria agrees: “The expression–their face, their hands, their arms–really delicate, beautiful.”
“It’s beyond words, such beauty,” said Luisa. Their observation is exactly the aim of a classical Chinese dancer, as the artist places attention to the internal cultivation of themselves and of their spirit guiding them through the movements.
Translating for her sister, Louisa continued: “It seems like they lose all sense of gravity. They elevate their bodies in such a way, you think they’re flying. And how they master every movement in the body.” Maria finishes: “They can do it with their body, everything that they want. Very different. You cannot compare with anything else.”
Louisa continued to translate her sister’s appreciation of the harmony and unity of all the dancers: “You don’t see the sense of individual trying to stand out among the others. It’s all one body.”
Maria adds that the group harmony “is very special.”
Louisa said that Maria traveled to China but couldn’t see a performance like Shen Yun there.
Shen Yun is currently unable to travel to China despite gracing venues at top cities around the world, including Paris, New York, London, and Beunos Aires, because its mission of cultural revival came about after the culture was “persecuted and co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party,” according to the company’s website.
“It is outside of China that Shen Yun’s artistic creators have the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture,” it continues. “Their courage to speak up is an integral part of Shen Yun’s spirit.”
The sisters said that somehow the perfection they witness in Shen Yun seems to get better every year.
“It seems like they always evolve in different spectacles every time we come,” said Louisa, translating. “They give it more every time. The elegance, such classic movements, it’s beautiful.”
Reporting by Hannah Cai.
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
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 20 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.