SAN DIEGO—”Come and very definitely take a look,” says retired US Ambassador Sean McArdle about Shen Yun Performing Arts who were performing at the San Diego Civic Theatre on Dec. 27.
During intermission, Ambassador McArdle said Shen Yun is “very different … magnificent, and we’re waiting for the other half.”
Now retired and living in San Diego, Ambassador McArdle has served as ambassador to countries in South America, Europe, and Africa. He thinks Shen Yun is a great way to introduce people to Chinese culture.
“You’re definitely getting a good view of different cultures that most Americans don’t know. It’s a good way to introduce you to a different culture,” he said.
Shen Yun is based in New York with three dance companies that are now on tour with scheduled performances in 150 cities around the globe. Each year an entirely new production is created, from handmade costumes, original choreography and orchestral arrangements, to digitally-mastered backdrops—all for the expressed mission to revive China’s 5,000 years of culture that was almost destroyed, according to Shen Yun’s website.
Accompanying Mr. McArdle was his daughter, Nancy. She said: “I think it’s wonderful. I love all the costumes and the dancing, and the energy that all the dancers are creating on stage. It’s really magnificent, and it’s something different. It’s great. It’s fabulous.”
China’s ancient myths and legends have survived through the ages and are brought to life on stage through classical Chinese dance, including ethnic and folk dance.
Ms. McArdle said: “I like how they come out and tell you a little bit of history about each dance. It’s amazing. It’s really wonderful; it’s a lot of fun.”
Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera, while Chinese ethnic and folk dance represents a vast and varied assortment of traditional dance styles.
Chinese ethnic dance generally refers to the dance forms passed down among the many minority ethnic groups within China. Folk dance, meanwhile, refers to the popular dance styles passed down among the majority Han ethnicity, like the Yang Ge, ribbon, and handkerchief dances; according to Shen Yun’s website.
Having brought The American Ballet Theatre to another country to introduce American culture, Ambassador McArdle is familiar with how live performance works, and he found Shen Yun’s cast “very interesting because they don’t have much time to change costumes. They have to be really quick.”
Reporting by Jane Yang and Maria Banks.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be heading to Escondido for performances at the California Center for the Arts from Dec. 28 to 31.
New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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