SAN FRANCISCO—Author Marcia Naomi Berger found more than she expected when she attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the War Memorial Opera House on Jan. 9.
A psychotherapist and counselor of 30 years, Mrs. Berger, who was in attendance with her husband David, said she was taken aback by the performance.
She is also an instructor for continuing education classes for therapists at the University of California Berkeley Extension and at Alliant International University in San Francisco. She was intrigued by the unity Shen Yun performed on stage.
“I was very struck by something that I learned,” she said. “Actually, I’m preparing one of my classes that talks about different cultures and how they view marriage… and I learned [that they] are willing to put aside the individuality for the sake of the group and I saw that.”
“I was just telling my husband David that I saw that. I kept thinking about it as I watched the dances, how precise they are and how unified they are. You can see how the group takes precedence.”
Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning backdrop—this is Shen Yun at first glance, reads the company website. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one.
Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.
“I loved the way the costumes matched the backdrop and the scenery,” Mrs. Berger said. “I kept noticing how the colors played off against each other—what the people were wearing who were dancing and [that of] the water and the mountains and the sky and the clouds… it’s always again—‘unity’,” she said.
“And I loved the dancing. It was so graceful. And the men were so forceful and they are like acrobats—the somersaults and the facial expressions are wonderful, too. Fortunately we were sitting close enough that we could see that.”
Technical skill in classical Chinese dance refers to a series of highly difficult techniques, including jumping and leaping, turning, and flipping. These techniques serve to enhance bearing and form, the website reads.
Mrs. Berger will next month launch a book she has authored, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love, Thirty Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, published by New World Library.
She summed up her experience of Shen Yun with just one word: “Fabulous!”
Reporting by Jennifer Liang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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.
The 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.