LOS ANGELES—Audiences around the world are enchanted by Shen Yun Performing Arts; some are more drawn to the dancing or costumes, others to the music or digital backdrops.
For Dr. Boyd Flinders, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, and volunteer at Los Angeles county’s USC Medical Center, it was the unique orchestra that stood out.
“I love the music,” he said. “It was very serene, it’s peaceful.”
The Shen Yun orchestra is most unique. According to the Shen Yun website, the “Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies. The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.”
The vocal soloists, and the accompanying pianist, also caught his attention.
Interspersed with mini-drama dance pieces are sopranos and tenors singing in Chinese with an English translation on screen.
Yet Dr. Flinders also found the other artistic components enthralling, including the harmonizing of the music and dance.
Dr. Flinders enjoys the Chinese culture. Shen Yun, based in New York, is reviving the ancient culture after communist rule in China nearly decimated it.
“I really enjoyed seeing it very much,” he said. “It’s beautiful culture.”
Shen Yun’s dancers, schooled in the highly comprehensive classical Chinese dance, are adorned with handcrafted regalia.
“The costumes are beautiful! They are so well designed and choreographed,” said the doctor. “They are absolutely stunning.”
The dances begin at the dawn of Chinese civilization and transport the audience throughout space (different areas of the vast country) and time (different eras and dynasties).
Several pieces depict the modern-day situation in China, where many find suppression. The persecution of the mediation practice Falun Gong is depicted, since Falun Gong practitioners, in the face of a brutal campaign, have held firm to their beliefs, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“Their spirit of compassion and tolerance manifest the very essence of China’s 5,000-year-old divine culture,” according to the company’s website.
“Because the people are so lovely, and they’re so friendly and kind, it’s hard to think of people wanting to hurt one another,” said Dr. Flinders.
The performance espoused values, in Dr. Flinder’s view, such as peace, love and trust, that are important for humankind today.
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Robin Kemker.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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