COSTA MESA, Calif.—Dancer and neurologist Johanna Rosenthal received an unexpected Christmas gift this year: a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture.
Ms. Rosenthal attended the matinee performance of renowned classical Chinese dance and music company Shen Yun Performing Arts at Segerstom Hall on Jan. 20. She received tickets as a Christmas gift said the experience was phenomenal.
“Love the show—the colors were so beautiful and the culture, the history of China was wonderful,” she said.
Ms. Rosenthal practices medicine in Fullerton and specializes in treating spinal injuries. She is also a dancer and dance-enthusiast. It was her first time to see Shen Yun and she was blown away by the beauty of classical Chinese dance.
“In classical Chinese dancing, they move their feet so delicately, and they just floated on the floor,” said Ms. Rosenthal. “They move their arms so beautifully, and it was so tasteful and modest. It was lovely.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by overseas Chinese artists, who had the wish to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Featuring a collection of story-based dances and musical performances, Shen Yun aims to capture the very essence of China’s divinely inspired culture, which has largely been destroyed under the Chinese communist regime, according to the company.
Ms. Rosenthal loved the variety of stories and ethnic dances portraying traditional Chinese culture.
“I loved the traditional Chinese culture and I love seeing the different [geographic areas],” she said.
“I love the Tibetan [folk dance], the fights the male dancers, and their high jumps—It was fabulous.”
Ms. Rosenthal was invited by James Morgan from the Rotary Club of Pomona, who says Shen Yun is an important cultural treasure that is helping to bring traditional art forms back from the brink of destruction in China.
“The [Chinese] Cultural Revolution was really not a cultural revolution—it was cultural destruction,” said Mr. Morgan. “Which is very sad because the Chinese culture is so rich and the people have so much to share with the rest of us in the world.”
According to the Shen Yun website, traditional Chinese cultural art forms have been systematically destroyed under various violent campaigns waged by the Chinese communist regime, including the Cultural Revolution.
“The Chinese should not lose their real culture, because the real culture is the root of the soul of the people,” said Mr. Morgan.
“The Chinese government unfortunately is losing something in that.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale.
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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