ESCONDIDO, Calif.—After watching Shen Yun Performing Arts on Saturday evening at the California Center for the Arts, former Connecticut State Representative Sonny Googins said the performance is “beautifully done.”
“This is very beautiful, lively, and athletic,” she added.
Now retired, Ms. Googins was first elected to the legislature representing Glastonbury in 1994 after serving on the town council there for 16 years. She also served 8 years as the council’s first chairwoman. During her time in the state legislature, Ms. Googins served as chairwoman of of the Capitol Region Council of Governments and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
Coming to see the performance with her husband Robert, Ms. Googins noted that they have stayed in China for a brief period and traveled to different parts of the country.
She was quite impressed to learn that Shen Yun is based in New York.
Shen Yun has a mission to revive 5,000 years of China’s divinely inspired culture which has been all but completely demolished after more than 60 years of Communist rule in China, according to the Shen Yun website. The company was founded in 2006 by a group of overseas Chinese artists.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” states the website. “But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
Mr. Googins, a retired law professor, said the couple had never watched a production as “huge” as Shen Yun while in China.
Before retiring, Mr. Googins taught at the University of Connecticut, where he helped open the Insurance Law Center in 1998. He was also the insurance commissioner of Connecticut and the general counsel of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Mr. Googins thought the Shen Yun Orchestra, which accompanies the dances on the stage with original scores, was a pleasant surprise.
The Shen Yun Orchestra starts with a foundation of classical Western instruments, and is augmented by traditional Chinese instruments, creating a masterful and unique harmonious sound.
“The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
“The orchestra is superb,” Mr. Googins said.
Reporting by Sophia Fang and Omid Ghoreishi.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be in Escondido for performances at the California Center for the Arts through Dec. 31.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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