COSTA MESA, Calif.—A gentleman of Persian heritage identified with the contemporary history in the sold-out Shen Yun Performing Arts he saw Jan. 19 at Segerstrom Hall.
Mr. Darius Abhar said he related to the dance An Unexpected Encounter. He liked the narrative dances, he said, because they “are really interesting, very nicely put.”
As a Baha’i, a minority persecuted in Iran, he felt empathy for the dance that described nonviolent resistance to oppression in China.
“Especially the new era, and the persecutions the Chinese people are going through. I think that stood out for me.”
He said he knew what it is like when a regime violates freedom of belief. “I am Persian. I am coming from Iran, the Baha’i.”
The dance he related to describes a father and daughter who are tourists in China, and accidentally come across something a tour guide would not want them to see, according to the emcees.
Mr. Abhar is an engineer and owns a business that does architectural work. He and his wife Solange Abhar each said the music of Shen Yun pleased them.
Mrs. Abhar said the soprano vocals were “really beautiful. It’s really nice.”
Mr. Abhar said, “It’s actually unbelievable.”
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, vocalists—together creating an experience that’s leaving millions in awe,” according to its website.
Mr. Abhar particularly enjoyed Mongolian Bowl Dance, in which Mongolian women emerge from their tents, balancing bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome, according to the program. “The Mongolian part, I really like. I liked it a lot.” Mrs. Abhar said she felt the same.
Speaking of the palette and the costumes, she said they were “beautiful, the costumes, they stand out, the color, the color coordination. The way that they’ve been used, it’s just magnificent. It’s really nice.”
Mr. Abhar was impressed by the unusual use of digital projection, in which “Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one,” according to its website.
Mr. Abhar said, “The river and the fish, the timing was really impressive.” The dance Sand Monk is Blessed tells a story from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. A shape-shifting ogre lives in a river. He can appear to be a man or a giant fish. Monkey King and Pigsy vow to make him pay for preying on villagers. The characters appear to enter and emerge from the projection, a Shen Yun innovation.
Mr. Abhar said he thought the performance was “Good. It’s very interesting.”
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Mary Silver.
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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