COSTA MESA, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts enthralls audience members across the globe; Saturday afternoon at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa was no exception.
“I feel great,” said Joseph Kienlle, a former business owner who is currently in the real estate sector. “I enjoyed that everyone was smiling. It’s a good feeling to see these dancers perform.”
Shen Yun is based in New York yet travels to around 20 countries and 100 cities every year with an all-new performance, according to the company’s website.
Resplendent, handmade costumes adorn the classical Chinese dancers, who perform a style of dance which has been formed through different eras and dynasties over the 5,000 years of ancient Chinese culture.
“China’s deep cultural traditions are contained in classical Chinese dance, allowing its movements to be richly expressive, such that the personalities and feelings of characters can be portrayed with unparalleled clarity,” according to Shen Yun’s website. “It is therefore capable of depicting scenes from any time period, whether ancient or modern, Eastern or Western, in a strikingly vivid way.”
Mr. Kienlle was impressed that the dancers moved in unison so well. Sets of dancers on stage move in and out of formations, at times moving as one body.
“It’s amazing the movements are exactly the same,” he said. “These dancers are superior.”
Mr. Kienlle enjoys art and culture, and takes in singing, ballets, and Broadway shows with his wife, Young Martinez. He organizes Hungarian folk dance programs in the area.
Ms. Martinez, 70, besides dancing for 11 years earlier in her life, currently teaches Korean dance at her church.
She said the dancers of Shen Yun were “beautiful,” appreciating the depth of the movements.
Shen Yun accentuates the core of dance with other artistic elements—digital backdrops, soloists, and an orchestra that deftly melds both classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments, such as the 4,000-year-old erhu, or two-stringed Chinese violin.
The digital backdrops caught Mr. Kienlle’s attention. He used to own an electronics circuit company and he designed computers at UNIVAC, so he could definitely appreciate the technical work involved.
“There is a lot of coordination and synchronization with the leading players as well as the automatic system,” he said. “When the dancers were flying, it has to be very close coordination between the operators and the dancers.”
The couple had seen Shen Yun before and came back for more.
“That’s why we’re here,” said Mr. Kienlle, “because we enjoyed it before.”
Ron Bertola, a production manager at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, also enjoyed the performance in Costa Mesa.
“It’s great; it’s very colorful,” he said. The soprano in particular was “terrific,” said Mr. Bertola.
The Chinese culture, spanning back so long and imbued with virtues from different geographical regions and different time periods, is interwoven throughout the performance.
“There’s a rich culture there,” said Mr. Bertola, “so it’s nice.”
Reporting by Albert Roman, Sophia Fang, and Zachary Stieber.
Shen Yun Performing Arts will perform at Segerstrom Center for the Arts Jan. 20, then on to Thousand Oaks at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Jan. 22 and 23, and finally to downtown Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Jan. 25 through 27. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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