NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Academy award-winning actor George Chakiris was struck by the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts’ performance at the Valley Performing Arts Center on April 20.
“It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful,” Mr. Chakiris gushed. “Beautiful stage work.”
Mr. Chakiris won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his acting, singing, and dancing role as Bernardo in “West Side Story,” which took the Academy award for Best Picture.
He was accompanied by actor Richard Tanner, who is known for his roles in many popular TV shows, “General Hospital” (1963), “The Addams Family” (1991), “The Glimmer Man” (1996), just to name a few. As skilled a writer as he is an actor, Mr. Tanner’s written work has appeared in Esquire, Vogue, The NY Daily News, and The Village Voice.
A veteran actor, Mr. Chakiris was thoroughly impressed with the performance, and quickly recognized every detail and effort that made Shen Yun a great production.
He said, “I loved the colors. The costumes are so beautiful. Everybody on stage is very skilled, and really wonderful at what they do … [They] are beautifully trained. It’s beautiful, lovely spectacle, and [it’s] very beautiful to see.”
Based in New York, the independent, nonprofit Shen Yun was founded by a group of leading artists to revive and share with the world China’s traditional culture and beliefs that were nearly destroyed under the communist rule.
Since its inception in 2006, Shen Yun has quickly become the world’s premier dance and music performing arts company, featuring the world’s top dancers, accompanied by a unique, full orchestra combining Eastern and Western instruments, and an interactive digital backdrop.
Mr. Chakiris said, “Its a beautiful group of artists. The costumes are beautiful. The precision is beautiful,” he said.
As a ballet dancer, Mr. Chakiris appreciated and was delighted with the dancers’ synchronization and hard work: “All of the people on stage are wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I can see that they have beautiful training. I can imagine they have a very, very long rehearsal process to be so good in synchronizing with each other, coordinating in their movement. It’s very beautiful.”
At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, which “has its own training in basic skills, physical expression, and postures, leaps, flips, spins and other difficult tumbling techniques, forming an extensive and independent dance system,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Mr. Chakiris was inspired by the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture and beliefs clearly articulated in the lyrics of baritone Qu Yue’s song “What You Are Here For.”
He said the lyrics, which were projected behind the singer in English, inspired him to think about how we come to the earth, how good people go back to heaven.
He said the spiritual and universal messages strike a chord in everybody with beautiful thoughts and ideas to ponder.
“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,” per the website.
Before departing, Mr. Chakiris said he would recommend Shen Yun to everyone.
Reporting by Yaning Liu and Thanh Le
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.