THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—Audiences were impressed and amazed by the beauty of Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company on Feb. 3, as the music and dance company performed to another sold house at the Fred Kavli Theatre.
Kevin Routon, an illustrator, said his wife didn’t want to miss the show.
“My wife had seen ads for Shen Yun a year ago, or the year before, and when she checked the tickets they were sold out, completely. So, as soon as she heard of this one, she got the tickets as a Christmas present (for us),” he said.
Mr. Routon continued, “It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful!”
“It’s very impressive, very beautiful,” said Mr. Routon, “all of it together—the movement, the colors, the stories.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s 5,000 years of culture, and it is doing so by touring with four companies simultaneously around the world every year, visiting over one hundred cities.
Shen Yun’s website describes the performance: “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture.”
Both Mr. Routon and his wife agreed, “They sound great (Shen Yun Orchestra).” “Everything is going perfectly timed,” said Mr. Routon.
The use of the backdrop especially impressed Mr. Routon, noting “that the screen is interactive, with the dancing and story. The way it all works together is inventive. It’s more than I thought would be going on.”
The deeper messages from the stories in China’s 5,000-year history were what really touched him and his wife.
“We’re enjoying the beauty. The tradition, the expressions brought forward from an ancient culture, and at the same time, appreciating the messages inherit in the production,” said Mr. Routon.
The performance consists of approximately 20 vignettes told primarily through classical Chinese dance, which range from China’s ancient past until today. Two contemporary pieces tell of Falun Dafa, a meditation practice that is rooted in Chinese culture, which has been persecuted in China since 1999.
“(We’re) feeling compassion for the people in China that are being oppressed by the current [regime]” he said.
“Yet, they still have that flame of hope, that’s expressed in the show, that we may have to do some things underground, practice our spirituality underground, but in the end,” he said, “we’ll get through this, we’ll triumph, tribulation is temporary.”
He deeply appreciated this message the show conveyed: “It’s beautiful.”
‘Exciting to Watch’
Sharee Allen, a photographer and student of art therapy, was particularly impressed by the visual aspect of Shen Yun.
“Visually, it was amazing, really stimulating the whole time. The interactions between the screen in the background and the dancers, and how they jumped in and out,” she said, “it was really exciting to watch!”
One crowd favorite is Shen Yun’s use of a digital backdrop to make it appear that dancers are dropping down to the earth from the clouds or leaping from the stage into the heavens from the stage.
The music was also a source of enjoyment: “The music was beautiful. I loved the instrumental performers, especially,” she said.
“The orchestra, almost in the sense that you don’t know they’re there sometimes because they’re so good,” she added. “I think that’s a great sign.”
She said the performance inspired her to learn more about other cultures, and also to incorporate her new awareness of Chinese culture into her art therapy practice.
Some of the shows spiritual insights also spoke to Ms. Allen.
“The one about compassion and being kind to your enemies, I think, is an important lesson. I work with teenagers, so that’s really good to convey to them,” she said.
Ms. Allen was referring to ‘The Power of Compassion,’ a vignette about a Chinese policeman who injures himself after persecuting Falun Dafa practitioners. The practitioners’ compassion lead them to reach out and help the policeman when he is injured and in pain. As a result, he changes his violent ways.
Ms. Allen said that she’d recommend the show to her friends, and that she will “be playing it over in my mind for the rest of the night.”
Reporting by Keith Yuan, Yanning Liu, and Ben Bendig
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