COSTA MESA, Calif.—Stan Morrison, senior vice president of Pacific Bank in Riverside, attended the afternoon showing of Shen Yun Performing Arts at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on April 17, 2016, which was sold out.
At more than six-and-a-half feet tall, Mr. Morrison is easy to spot—even while seated. He stands out in other ways, too. He has had a long career in basketball; first as a student at Berkeley, then as a professional for the Spanish international team, Real Madrid, in the early 1960s. He later spent 30 years working as head coach for the basketball programs at University of the Pacific, University of Southern California (USC), and San Jose State University.
After the 1985 season with USC, Mr. Morrison was named “Pac-10 Coach of the Year.”
As an expert in managing teams, perhaps he couldn’t help but look at the performance from a coach’s point of view.
“I was in the basketball business for 30 years, so I have a great appreciation for athletes,” he said. “And the coordination, the absolute brilliance of movement by a large group of people, whether they are men or women, is exceptional. I’ve never seen anything this precise.”
The teamwork and endurance Mr. Morrison observed was notable to him.
He said he didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but the dancers’ “movements are exactly the same. That tells me they have wonderful coaching and incredible discipline to do what they do.”
He added, “and [they do this] performance after performance. That’s a very surprising thing to see at this level. I’ve never seen it at this level of precision by any dance crew.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based, non-profit, classical Chinese dance and music company that tours to over 100 cities in 20 countries and across five continents each year. It’s mission is to revive the resplendent beauty of genuine, traditional Chinese culture.
Mr. Morrison described what he was watching. “[It] is an expression of dynasties and of a culture many, many thousands of years old, and they bring from various parts of the country attitudes about dance and expression about song that’s exceptional.”
“Our country is such a young country, and to see what I’ve seen here today gives me a great, warm feeling about history and what’s going on and what people are working hard to preserve through song and dance.”
Each Shen Yun performance includes approximately 20 vignettes that transport audience members on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Ancient legends and mythical tales take them from heavenly realms to palaces at the bottom of the sea, while modern stories of courage tell of steadfast faith.
“The performance is exceptional. I can’t get over it,” Mr. Morrison said. “I heard from so many people that it was wonderful, but I never—the precision of the dancers, the elegance of what they do, is just beyond description.”
“There is tremendous passion in all that I see,” he added.
Mr. Morrison also noticed that the venue was filled to capacity, and that he could see why.
“Everyone recommended [Shen Yun] to me, and I will do the same. Absolutely.”
Attorney ‘Blown Away’ by Shen Yun’s Artistry
Mr. Morrison watched Shen Yun with his close friend, Mike Goldware, a retired attorney, who appeared equally impressed.
“It’s spectacular,” said Mr. Goldware. “I’m blown away by the ability of someone to envision the artistry and then convey it through the dancers who then interpret [it].”
He felt that the costumes alone were stunning. “Then to put it in terms of color to give it majesty and motion is outstanding,” he said. “People need to see this. This is moving; it is beautiful.”
While Shen Yun primarily features classical, ethnic, and folk dance, a full, live orchestra that seamlessly combines Eastern and Western instruments accompanies the dancers.
Mr. Goldware described the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra as a tremendous blend.
“I don’t have the words to explain how tremendous it is…People need to come and see Shen Yun.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Albert Roman
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.