SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The artists in Shen Yun Performing Arts “are able to give information about China that nobody else is able to get out there,” said professor Paul Fogle of the Shen Yun Performing Arts matinee at the Sacramento Community Center Theater on Jan. 3.
“It’s wonderful,” said Mr. Fogle. “And I loved the music, the dancing, costume is phenomenal, choreography, and the spirit of the people.”
Shen Yun was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture after the Cultural Revolution “all but completely demolished” the divinely inspired culture, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed,’ the website continues.
The New York-based company has yet to be allowed to perform in China, but being based outside China allows Shen Yun’s artistic creators “the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture.”
Mr. Fogle was touched by the performance.
“There is a culture, Chinese culture, that is thousands of years old—that the world needs to know about—that few people do outside of China, and even the Chinese people themselves don’t always get to know what their background is,” Mr. Fogle said.
Mr. Fogle has been awarded Professor Emeritus status and continues to author textbooks and therapy materials used throughout the world, though he has retired from university teaching.
Mr. Fogle said he had trained in karate for years and enjoyed the characters doing martial arts in some of the dances. Shen Yun performs both ethnic and folk dances and classical Chinese dance, which includes many difficult tumbling, flipping, and jumping techniques. A common assumption is that these moves come from acrobatics of gymnastics, but the sports in fact originate from classical Chinese dance.
That’s why, according to Shen Yun’s website, “alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.”
“And the ladies dancing, the extended hands, the flowing; that’s always fascinates me,” Mr. Fogle said.
Mr. Fogle enjoyed the digital backdrop as well. Shen Yun designers use state-of-the-art technology to transport the audience into a magical world with the use of the animated scenery.
“I never seen done before, where the performers are jumping off the stage and on the screen,” he said. “Perfect timing—choreography was wonderful for that. I am really impressed.”
The artists in the performance were full of joy and it was apparent they are proud to show the Chinese culture.
“The people are very exuberant,” Mr. Fogle said, “and I get the feeling that they really are enjoying what they are doing.”
Reporting by Alex Ma and Catherine Yang
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will be performing in San Jose through Jan. 6. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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