SAN JOSE, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts graced the stage of San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, enchanting the audience with a revival of one of the most ancient cultures in the world.
Based in New York, Shen Yun traverses the globe with a mission: “Reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture,” according to its website. Shen Yun’s three separate and equally large companies—complete with full orchestras, tenors and sopranos—will stop in more than 100 cities, such as Paris, Sydney, and New York.
The component parts of a Shen Yun show, which include mini-dramas replete with engaging myths and legends, espousing classical values such as benevolence and paying respect to the heavens, merge into a harmonious performance presenting traditional Chinese culture.
For Jackie Young, planning director for the town of Woodside, the different elements in the performance—including graceful hand gestures, or mudras; classical Chinese dance; and references in several dances to Buddhism—was “a very nice mixture.”
“I like the references to the different regions and the different cultures and the different groups,” she said. “China’s a very large country with different traditions. I appreciate learning about that.”
Young also said that she enjoyed Shen Yun’s signature seamless interaction among its live orchestra, dancers, and its state-of-the-art digital backdrops.
Olive Lopez from Napa, an artist and recently retired art teacher, also took in the performance on Saturday.
One dance in particular stood out to Lopez, Phoenix Fairies, in which phoenix maidens “soar with celestial grace” in a faraway paradise, according to the program.
“With every movement, their shimmering skirts echo the endless depths of a star-speckled sky,” it adds. “Startling in beauty and striking in elegance, they dance to form a heavenly train.”
The dance signified, according to Ms. Lopez, “a renewal, a regeneration.”
“It has such a spiritual essence to it, the meaning of the phoenix, and also I loved the costumes,” said Ms. Lopez. “And at the end it looked like a phoenix, just flowing, going up towards the heavens.”
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 International Company will be performing at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Jan. 5-6, and at Fox Theatre from Jan. 8-9. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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