ESCONDIDO, Calif.— The stage of the California Center for the Arts radiated light and majestic color as Shen Yun Performing Arts presented 5,000 years of classical Chinese dance, music, myths, and elaborate authentic costumes for an enthusiastic audience the last Sunday of the year.
Among the matinee audience members enjoying the pageantry and splendor of China’s majestic culture were a husband and wife, the Pagnottas, who provide real estate sales in San Diego’s North County. Alan Pagnotta, a past senior VP at a Sony Electronics, a Retired Navy Captain, and now a Broker and Coldwell Banker; and Gretchen, a realtor, Coldwell Banker with 25 years in real estate after a career as an officer in the Army Nurse Corps and Medical Management described their experience.
“It’s great, it’s colorful, the dancing’s fabulous, I think the music’s good, yeah,” said Mrs. Pagnotta, who frequents the theater often.
“But this is our first show, this kind of show, Chinese dancing. It’s our first time for Chinese dancing.”
Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera, according to Shen Yun’s website. “Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.”
“The techniques and methods expressed externally include hundreds of exquisite movements and postures,” the website states, explaining the form part of the dance. “Even though many of these poses might look very simple, they actually require the perfect coordination of every part of the body. 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.”
With seats close to the stage, the Pagnottas could truly see all the remarkable detail that goes into each dance move and every costume.
“Beautiful,” said Mrs. Pagnotta, her husband echoing her sentiments with a hearty, “Oh, it’s beautiful.”
“The costumes are beyond belief,” observed Mrs. Pagnotta.
Shen Yun’s costume artists create pieces from imperial dragon robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor, according to the company’s website.
The Pagnottas also appreciated the unique Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra, where a Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments, such as the erhu (two-stringed Chinese violin), dizi (bamboo flute), and suona (double reed woodwind instrument) lead the melodies.
The couple both used to play instruments; Mr. Pagnotta the guitar, trumpet, French horn, and trombone, and Mrs. Pagnotta the piano and guitar.
“Our son’s a professional musician. He has a band and he’s a writer and produces music,” added Mrs. Pagnotta.
In conclusion, Mrs Pagnotta said, “I’d recommend it for people.” Between the music, dance, and the atypical nature of the performance, the performance is “one of a kind,” she added, and one “that everybody should see.”
Reporting by Jane Yang and Masha Savitz.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be heading to Escondido for performances at the California Center for the Arts from Dec. 28 to 31.
New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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