SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Two retired professors enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts on Jan. 3.
“I think it’s splendid—it’s wonderful,” said Tom Slakey, a retired college professor from both St. Mary’s in Moraga and St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. “The women’s dances are very beautiful, and the men’s dances are just amazingly athletic.”
New York-based Shen Yun traverses the globe with one mission: “reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture,” according to its website.
At the core of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, nearly as ancient as the culture itself. The art form has three different components, including technical skill, bearing, and form. Form means externally expressed techniques and methods, including “hundreds of exquisite movements and postures,” according to the website.
“Even though many of these poses might look very simple, they actually require the perfect coordination of every part of the body,” the website reads. “For example, the movement and rotation of the trunk, the direction of the gaze, the placement of the fingers, and so on, all require accuracy and coordination.”
From the moment the curtains opened, Mr. Slakey was struck by the beauty of the performance.
“That opening scene was absolutely splendid,” he said after seeing the performance at Sacramento Community Center Theater.
Something that intrigued Mr. Slakey and Bill Chancellor, a retired professor from UC Davis, was the harmonized interaction between the dancers, the live orchestra, the costumes, and the digital backdrops.
The digitally projected backdrops are state-of-the-art and take audience members from the Himalayan Peaks to the Yellow River Delta. Sometimes characters on screen appear to directly come onto the stage, an effect that astonishes many who watch the performances.
“Very, very clever,” said Mr. Chancellor. “I enjoyed the coordination between the animation of the backdrop and the dancers on the stage.”
Mr. Slakey also said he enjoyed Shen Yun’s orchestra, which combines both classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments.
With reporting by Christian Watjen 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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