BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premiere classical Chinese dance and music company, brought 5,000 years of China’s rich and divinely-inspired culture to the stage at the Rabobank Theater on the evening of April 28, welcoming many sophisticated audience members.
“This is a stunning, visually-pleasing performance,” said Rudy Salas, California State Assemblymember for the 32nd district. “It’s a story, it’s a movement, it’s a feeling that you feel inside that goes beyond the stage.”
A Shen Yun performance introduces audiences to classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive and expressive art forms in the world.
Shen Yun’s lively orchestra accompanies the dances with both classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments, playing all original music, while stunning costumes, vibrant backdrops, and musical soloists enhance the experience.
“It’s an amazing visual effect,” said Mr. Salas. “It’s astounding to see the culture, to see the influences that song and dance has had throughout the millennia.”
Some of the most touching parts of the performance for Mr. Salas were Shen Yun’s vocal soloists, who sing songs of hope for their culture and the people of the world. The Assemblymember said the soloists were telling a divine story through their songs.
“What they bring to the stage is just magical,” he said. “You see the magic, not only in their voice, in the illustration, but in their facial expression. You see the magic going beyond just the words. They are actually expressing the meaning behind what they are singing and what they are portraying.”
The entire Shen Yun performance takes the audience through the many ages of Chinese history and legends and various ethic backgrounds. It introduced Mr. Salas to the intricacies of this unique, ancient culture, and at the same time affected his understanding of the modern world.
“The performance is so magical that it does touch you,” he said. “It brings a sense of self-reflection, understanding oneself, understanding your moment in time, understanding how you can capture this moment and transform and be above it.”
As a public official, he said that during the performance, he even felt a sense of his own duty, of seeing what’s really going on right now in the world and what still needs to be done. He was inspired to live more in the moment, be aware of his surroundings, and yet rise above it all.
He said he would recommend Shen Yun to his friends, colleagues, and everyone.
“This is a fabulous performance,” he said. “You should bring your nieces, your nephews, your cousins, your mothers, your father, bring them out to see this performance, because not only will they take away just a great performance, but they will learn about the culture. They will learn about history. That is one of the things that touches and inspires all of us.”
Shen Yun is ‘Outstanding,’ ‘Perfection’
Jacquie Sullivan, a long-time city councilmember of Bakersfield, said it was the first time she’d seen anything like Shen Yun Performing Arts, and it was simply outstanding.
“This is quite a production,” said Ms. Sullivan, who said she was sitting close to the stage and could see the details of the performance and the artists’ movements. “Just the color, the perfection, the scenery is beautiful.”
Ms. Sullivan was amazed by the young dancers’ beauty and grace in their dance movements, and said even the way they held their hands was beautiful.
Classical Chinese dance requires that dancers express their inner thoughts and feelings through their facial expressions and dance movements, and the performers are able to portray any story, character or time period with incredible clarity. The dance system was perfected over thousands of years and even contains the essence of Chinese culture.
“They are just perfection,” said Ms. Sullivan of the performers.
The dancers also change into new, exquisite costumes and hair pieces for every dance vignette, which were very colorful and beautiful, said Ms. Sullivan.
Ms. Sullivan commented on the packed, sold-out theater, and said such a wonderful production deserves such a good turnout. She said she would certainly recommend the show to others.
“A lot of work; a lot of dedicated dancers. It’s something the Chinese people can be very proud of. We are glad to be here,” she said.
Delano City Officials Say Shen Yun Incredible, Beautifully Done
“There was so much talent on the stage tonight,” said Ricardo Chavez, mayor of the city of Delano at the Rabobank Theater after watching Shen Yun.
He attended the performance with Sumeet Batth, recreation manager of Delano, Maribel Reyna, city manager of Delano, and her husband Jay Reyna, who works in farm safety.
Mayor Chavez said the city of Delano was founded as a railroad town, and many Chinese people worked to build that railroad in the 1860s.
“I think it just hits close to home to be able to see a bit of Chinese culture back in this area,” he said. “The performance was incredible. The synchronized dancing, the outfits, the color, the stories, it was just beautifully, beautifully done.”
“How beautifully they relayed some of the history of China,” said Mrs. Reyna. “It was amazing to see it relayed in dance.”
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 to revive traditional Chinese culture, which has been all but lost in China today during communist rule.
Chinese culture is believed to have begun with the Yellow Emperor more than 5,000 years ago. He was said to have great power and wisdom and taught his subjects how to live in accordance with the heavenly Way, according to Shen Yun’s website.
Shen Yun’s performers continue this tradition through their own spiritual cultivation, which is their motivation for personal and professional improvement and excellence.
The Delano officials were very impressed with the artists’ synchronization and athletic ability, as well as the flips and turns that are a traditional part of classical Chinese dance.
“You are left in awe,” said Mrs. Reyna. “The tumbling, and the flipping. When they leap into the air, it’s amazing to see it again and again and again. They do it with such ease.”
Mayor Chavez said he was surprised that he easily followed along with China’s stories and myths acted out in the dances. He said the music coordinated very well with the performance.
Mrs. Reyna and her husband particularly enjoyed the solo performance of the Chinese violin, a two-stringed instrument called the erhu.
Shen Yun’s passionate vocal soloists were also inspiring for the group, and the mayor said the lyrics were very positive with a heavenly focus.
Ms. Batth said she was very touched by the dance piece called “The Steadfast Heart,” which portrayed a scene from modern Chinese history. An older couple is separated when the man is arrested for holding up a banner that reads, “Falun Dafa is Good.” He is later released from prison, but his spirit is badly broken by the harsh torture he endured. However, a miracle revives him once again.
“We have so much liberty here,” said Ms. Batth of the United States.
Mr. Chavez said he was unaware of the persecution of Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, in China before attending Shen Yun, and was very surprised when Ms. Batth pointed out to him that it is still going on today.
The mayor was especially affected by the finale of the performance, called “Hope for the Future.” Just when all seems lost within the story, a divine intervention comes and heralds a new beginning in China.
Mrs. Reyna said she felt the whole performance encouraged her to remember that her time on the earth was limited, and she felt inspired to reflect on the very meaning of human life.
“It was very fulfilling to all of the senses,” said Mrs. Reyna. “In sight and sound and emotion.”
Mr. Chavez said Shen Yun is a definite “must-see” production and he would be recommending it to others.
“This is something we don’t see everyday in this area. It’s nice to see a glimpse of Chinese culture that is so rich,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful experience.”
“Don’t miss it, because it really is an extraordinary performance,” said Mrs. Reyna. I’m so glad I came.”
“They need to come and see it. That’s all there is to it. They need to come,” said Mr. Reyna.
Reporting by NTD Television, Alex Lee, and Sarah 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.