LOS ANGELES—Actress Sandra Gale Bettin decided to go see Shen Yun Performing Arts as a birthday present for herself. She expected the performance to be fantastic, but what she saw on stage far exceeded her expectations.
“The show was, all I can say it was overwhelming. More than magnificent, more than fantastic. It was wonderful,” said Bettin, who saw the performance with her friend at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on April 11.
“I expected all the colors and the silks and beautiful dancing. What I didn’t expect were all the special effects and the silkscreen and the back and forth behind and in and out of the screen. And the orchestra was fantastic,” she added.
As an actress, Bettin is well known for her roles in the 1953 film “Fort Algiers” and 1967 film “The Glory Stompers.”
The New York-based company showcases China’s 5,000 years of civilization and history through performing arts, with the mission to revive the culture and traditional values.
Some of these values encompass the virtues of benevolence, kindness, and honor, and display the inner spiritual core of the culture—things that make up the Chinese identity, but are also universal.
Shen Yun brings these to life in many of its story-based dances, which tell legends of heroes and villains, historical figures, emperors, as well as stories inspired from the present day.
“Watching the message become alive through the dance, which is what you are supposed to do,” Bettin said. “Dancing is a passion. And if you don’t have that passion, you will never be a dancer. It’s a lifelong passion. It starts from childhood.”
Moreover, Bettin enjoyed seeing similar passion in the performance’s vocalists, who sing using the bel canto technique, and try to inspire people through their lyrics.
“The singers are supposed to have their message through their voice and the way that they present [it],” Bettin said.
Bettin, who was a former dancer, said she was most impressed by the dancers’ precision and timing, describing their skills as “absolutely perfect.”
“I expected that the precision and everything would be just absolutely perfect. And I expect [it] because I’d also seen the commercials with the silks and how they use the costume. But I know that the main thing in dancing is precision and timing. And certainly when you’re in a group and I’ve never seen a core so perfection, I mean the perfection was unbelievable,” she said.
Additionally, Shen Yun’s dancing is accompanied by a live orchestra that blends Chinese and Western instruments creating a distinct yet harmonious sound. Bettin said she loved the way the music was blended so seamlessly, that it was pleasing to the ear.
“The music, the horns were great. The violins were great,” Bettin said. “I love the way they did the drums and then they did the strings. And then they did the horns and I’d never seen them in any performance.”
She also praised Shen Yun on how the orchestra was introduced and incorporated into the performance.
“I also love the way they were introduced. They introduce them separately instead of just having the orchestra stand,” she said. “I’ve seen an awful lot of Broadway and an awful lot of stuff around the country and the world. And I’ve never seen an orchestra introduced that way, which I thought was fabulous.”
With reporting by Michael Ye.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.