SAN FRANCISCO—Shen Yun Performing Arts presentation intrigued the audience at the War Memorial Opera House Jan. 10.
Lawyer Mark Thacker and his wife Lisa, an office manager, were amid the crowd enjoying the New York-based classical Chinese dance and music evening performance.
Mrs. Thacker said she absolutely loved the hand-made costumes and the classical Chinese dancing.
“It was wonderful! It was absolutely memorable and told a lot of stories,” she said
One such story dance, The Power of Compassion, caught Mr. Thacker by surprise, he said. He hadn’t known about the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong, a form of meditation practice, was banned in China since 1999.
According to the program book, peace reigned in China, until on one fateful day, the communist regime sent officers to arrest practitioners meditating in the parks. During a raid, an officer falls. But a practitioner stops running and returns to help the officer showing great compassion.
One other story dance, Phoenixes of the Sapphires Paradise, both Mr. and Ms. Thacker were mesmerized by the stage effects.
“Soothing celestial strains resonate through a heavenly cloudscape. Phoenix fairies, dressed in azure skirts and fluttering capes, take flight as eternal sovereigns of a boundless sky,” the program book states.
The Shen Yun website explains that classical Chinese dance is at the heart of each performance. “Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” state the website.
Also mesmerizing was the two-stringed Chinese violin, erhu, Ms. Thacker said.
“In its lowest and middle range, the erhu is especially stirring and somber, a quality eminently suitable for conveying the grand pageant of China’s history and the emotions of its people,” the website explains.
“Absolutely fabulous! They were amazing!” Ms. Thacker said of the entire show.
‘Beautiful, Truly Beautiful’
Alma Jackson, founder and CEO of Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency, was in the audience to soak up the divinely-inspired 5,000-year Chinese culture enactment on stage.
“I’ve enjoyed it, thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s just beautiful, truly beautiful,” she said.
She especially enjoyed the Shen Yun opera singers and their use of the operatic bel canto technique to sing Chinese text. “This means that the singer must, while continuing to meet the challenges inherent in bel canto technique, retain proper Chinese pronunciation and diction. Today, these singers’ ability to do this is unparalleled,” the website states.
The performance was “such a beautiful show,” Ms. Jackson said. “We should all learn more about each others cultures.”
Shen Yun Orchestra: ‘Incredible’
Business owners Mr. and Mrs. Burk attended the Jan. 10 matinee performance of Shen Yun.
“The country is very colorful, it’s dazzling. The dances are very [athletic], entertaining,” Mrs. Burk said.
“The backdrops are magical windows to completely different realms,” the website explains. “From vast open grasslands in one dance to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilions in another; from dusty yellow battlegrounds to tropical beaches to Himalayan peaks to picturesque scenery of the Yellow River Delta—the digital projection infinitely expands and transforms the stage.”
Mr. Burk enjoyed the entire performance, but lauded the Shen Yun Orchestra,.
“I thought it was fantastic. The percussion, the strings … were just incredible. I was just blown away by it. I loved the music, that was very well done,” he said.
“The orchestra’s ability to seamlessly blend two systems, East and West, to create one fresh, harmonious sound, is what makes the orchestra unique,” the website states.
Mrs. Burk said she will make sure to share the experience of Shen Yun with others.
“It’s very beautiful, it’s very ethnic, and it’s very much part of the Chinese culture,” she said.
Reporting by Abraham Thompson and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.