COSTA MESA, Calif.—Clint Elis, a music teacher for over 57 years, came to see the Shen Yun matinee at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Jan. 20, and he and his family had nothing but praise for the performance.
Mr. Elis, who brought his wife, her sister, and her parents to the show, said that he “enjoyed the show very much,” adding that he enjoyed “everything: the costumes, the scenery, the dancing … Oh my gosh … the singing. It was wonderful.”
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, [and] vocalists,” says the company’s website.
In addition to a family outing, the show was also a birthday gift for one of the female members of the family, Pat, who called the gift “the best.” Pat added that the show was “beautiful … I loved it. Thanks to my son, he brought us.”
As a music teacher, Mr. Elis said that he “loved the orchestra … I love it! I love Chinese instruments … I really liked the exotic sounds.”
Shen Yun’s website explains, “Ancient Chinese instruments such as the soul-stirring erhu and the delicate pipa lead the melody on top of a full orchestra of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.”
And it wasn’t just the orchestra that impressed him. Mr. Elis admired the singers, saying that they were “beautiful, excellent.” He went on to say that very few singers in Western society could emulate that type of singing: “sometimes the scale, the musical scale that they sing is very difficult for Western people to sing. It is very interesting.”
His family, who said they were “new” to Chinese culture, felt that they had gained some insight from the performance. Mr. Elis said that the stories presented in Shen Yun are “all very enchanting. The most interesting ones probably had to do with issues of human rights.”
“Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the 5,000 year old, divinely inspired culture of China. Unfortunately, over the past 60 years, this cultural treasure has been persecuted and co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party,” explains Shen Yun’s website.
In addition to the dancing and music, the Elis family was also impressed by the other aspects of the show, such as the costumes and backdrop.
Mr. Elis said, “the costumes were beautiful. The costumes with the choreography made the show.”
“Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people,” says the company’s website.
Reporting by Rusong Lu and Suman Srinivasan.
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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