SAN JOSE, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts greatly impressed audience members at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Jan. 5.
“Extremely well done—I didn’t want to miss a minute of it,” said Arleen Wilson, retired from the medical sector.
The revival of the 5,000-year-old, divinely-inspired Chinese culture by New York-based Shen Yun has elicited high praise around the world, and this night was no exception.
“I was mesmerized by the way they would disappear and come back,” said Ms. Wilson, describing a unique feature of Shen Yun.
A towering backdrop is the background for the dance pieces, showing the vast lands of China through different state-of-the-art projections. In some dances, figures on screen float towards the audience, and when they reach the bottom they appear to seamlessly become a real person.
Before each new dance, two Masters of Ceremonies come on stage and give the audience some context.
“I thought that was very helpful, in setting it up for us,” said Ms. Wilson.
Besides the backdrops and a core of classical Chinese dance, an art form nearly as ancient as the culture itself, Shen Yun has an orchestra that deftly combines both classical Western instruments and traditional Chinese instruments. The dancers are adorned with handmade costumes.
“I was very impressed with the costuming, the choreography, the whole thing actually,” said Ms. Wilson.
“The orchestra, oh, the music was fantastic, the singing—there was so much more than I expected,” she added. “I had a general idea from seeing the trailers and the ad, but … it was beyond what I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Ms. Wilson definitely enjoyed her experience.
“I’d see it again,” she said. “I’d see it again in a heartbeat.”
Kirby Hansen, a retired Navy officer, also attended the afternoon performance.
“It’s amazing—I love it,” he said. “It’s very colorful and the music is very interesting.”
Mr. Hansen said the unique combination of East and West in the orchestra provided an interesting contrast. A Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, according to Shen Yun’s website, while Chinese instruments—such as the erhu, or 4,000-year-old, two-stringed Chinese violin—lead the melodies.
“The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization,” it continues.
Mr. Hansen said he appreciated the cultural performance.
“Everything was just very impressive and very enjoyable,” he added.
Reporting by Abraham Thompson and Zachary Stieber.
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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