LOS ANGELES—Tiffany Bolling, a ’70s Hollywood actress in several films, including Ironside and Kingdom of the Spiders, attended the Jan. 26 Shen Yun performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with her husband, Richard Casares.
“I’m in love with Shen Yun,” said Ms. Bolling.
Her husband, Mr. Casares, is a television producer. He works for The Associated Television company, which has received one Emmy award and seven Emmy nominations within the past five years. He was also the manager of Mike Love from The Beach Boys.
The couple said they were touched by all the history and culture the performance encompassed.
During and after the Chinese Cultural Revolution took place from 1966–1976, many Chinese cultural relics and traditions were destroyed. To this day, the Chinese Communist Party continues to use culture as a political tool, and thus authentic Chinese cultural performances cannot be seen in modern China.
Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in 2006 by a group of overseas artists whose mission statement was to revive traditional Chinese culture.
“This is beautiful to see, this kind of tradition,” Mr. Casares said. “Five thousand years of Chinese culture, my goodness, it’s very different.”
“[There’s] nothing like it,” Ms. Bolling said. “Very, very unique.”
Classical Chinese dance consists of bearing, ethnic poses and postures, and technical skill.
Its techniques include sophisticated combinations of jumps, leaps, turns, and flips. Acrobatics was subsequently born out of classical Chinese dance.
“I did not know that classical Chinese dance is the cause of a lot of the Olympic sport,” Ms. Bolling said, referring to gymnastics. “I enjoyed it immensely because I’m an artist. … I know how hard it is for each artist to work to get to that level, especially dancers.”
China has 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities, and their distinct ways of life are reflected in their dances.
A historical ethnic group, the Yi people, has a 3,000-year-old history. One of their most famous dance moves is the “Beating Buckwheat Step,” which was inspired by the annual harvest.
The Yi people are known for their tendency to seize the day by “dancing out” their feelings during daily life activities.
“I was so glad to see the way they did their dance performances for the different provinces of China,” she said. “I was very sad [that] they don’t let these beautiful dances be seen in China.”
“It’s all beautiful, just beautiful. The diversity of the dance,” Mr. Casares said.
“The spiritual background in this is wonderful,” he said. “It has the depth of culture, and the discipline to perform something that beautiful can be related to your life because your life has to be … disciplined.”
Each dance is also accompanied by a live orchestra. Ms. Bolling said she was impressed by “the orchestra and the dancers, how well they worked together.”
“Everything about the music is cheerful and uplifting. I thought it was great. Great to have the experience,” Mr. Casares said.
“The music is completely unique. Everything about it is unique because you have Western and Chinese instrumentations. Where else? Nowhere else,” he said.
The couple said they were also impressed with the costumes. Each Shen Yun costume is hand-made and designed in the styles of classical Chinese attire—from imperial dragon robes to phoenix coronets to Tibetan ethnic clothing.
“The colors are beautiful, especially the Phoenix Fairies! I like those colors,” Mr. Casares said.
“I loved the dance of the Gods, Dancing for the Gods. With all the men, and their bright white orange and turquoise,” Ms. Bolling said.
“The costumes were beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous gems,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the next show.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts is coming to Las Vegas in March.
“Go to Las Vegas,” said Ms. Bolling. “It’s only a four-hour drive or something like that. It’s worth your weight in gold to go.”
Reporting by SOH Radio Network and Amelia Pang.
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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