THOUSAND OAKS, Calif—Peter Carniglia, owner of Carniglia Construction, Inc. (CCI), and his cousin Alex Ford, a deputy probation officer, and their wives, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts on January 23 at The Fred Kavli Theatre.
“I’m very happy to see the show tonight,” Mr. Carniglia said.
“I look at it and I think of the dedication, the warmth, and the history that goes into it. I can feel the importance of all the different stories of thousands of years of Chinese cultures,” he said, then quoted from memory what the emcee said.
“I love the part where he [the emcee] said, ‘We think of Chinese culture as one thing, but it’s not one thing. It’s many things put together. It’s many different pieces of history—different provinces have different people,’” said Mr. Carniglia.
Based in New York, Shen Yun presents 5,000 year of “divinely inspired” traditional Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music. Shen Yun also presents ethnic and folk dances from across China.
Mr. Carniglia said he and his wife very much enjoyed Shen Yun. His wife is Chinese and speaks Cantonese.
Mr. Carniglia has a been a builder, project manager, and business entrepreneur since 1998 and has built a great reputation in the process, such that the California State Licensing Board asked Mr. Carniglia to review and revise the contractor’s licensing exam in the state. He manages commercial real estate, residential, as well as specialty and custom construction projects.
Mr. Carniglia was touched by the traditional Chinese stories in Shen Yun. “The stories that they tell are really nice. I love the way they characterize the stories and the way it comes alive … when they dance the story,” he said.
He especially liked the Mongolian Bowl Dance, in which, according to the program book, “Mongolian women emerge balancing bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome.”
“That was really neat,” he said, adding, “I also really like the battle scenes—that was good. The dance is intriguing to me to watch.”
Shen Yun’s state of the art digital backdrop also impressed Mr. Carniglia. “The background scene where they fly into the background and then come flying back from the background. That’s a wonderful technique. I had never seen that before,” he said.
“I’m learning a great deal,” Mr. Carniglia said.
Mr. Ford said that he really loves Shen Yun. Currently, Shen Yun cannot perform in China. For the past 60 plus years, communist rule in the country has sought to destroy the traditional Chines culture, notably through the Great Cultural Revolution. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the essence of Chinese culture.
“Through dance, through folk, through story telling, through singing, and a tremendous culture—being able to say something right now to us, it’s amazing to me.”
Mr. Ford spent 37 years in the probation system managing people who were not behind bars, but his job was to check that they were obeying the law.
Shen Yun stories portray battles between good and evil, and Chinese culture includes virtues of propriety, compassion, and divine retribution.
Mr. Ford said he thought the performance was multidimensional and the virtues were clear. “I understand China, Mongolia, and some of the subsets of China, even the little tiny Island of Quemoy and Matsu,” he said. His father used to tell about the islands and how important they were. Mr. Ford was moved by the vast Chinese culture and said he felt a sense of hope about Chinese culture.
Reporting by Jana Li and Kelly Ni.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform in 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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