COSTA MESA, Calif.—Fred and Sherri Janssen have seen many performances over the years at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, but watching Shen Yun Performing Arts stood out from the rest.
“It’s different, I’ve never experienced this before,” said Fred. “It’s real nice.”
“It’s amazing,” Sherri said. “I love it.”
The couple, who own a construction company together, with Fred working as supervisor and Sherri as architect and interior designer, saw the performance on April 20.
The classical Chinese dance company is currently touring the world, sharing a program filled with dance vignettes, musical soloists, and stories told through dance. The New York-based company has a mission to restore traditional Chinese culture through the arts.
Sherri was astounded by the quality of the Shen Yun’s dancers, saying they were highly accomplished.
“The performance and the ability for them to all be together and in sync. … That’s wonderful,” she said. “And then the leaps, and the twists, and the flips.”
The performers are experts in classical Chinese dance, as well as other ethnic and folk dance styles. Classical Chinese dance is an ancient art form, refined over thousands of years. It has a comprehensive system of movements and gestures, including difficult flips and tumbling techniques.
Besides the physical elements, dancers are also required to develop yun, or bearing: the ability to convey their inner world through outward movements. Thus, many dancers focus on improving their character so as to harness positive energy for their craft.
Seated so close to the stage, Sherry said she was able to see—and feel—the details of the dancers’ expressions.
“It’s very intricate,” she said. “The more you look at those facial expressions, it even helps tell that story.
“That’s one of the things that … brings it to your heart, is you’re seeing these young, beautiful dancers performing this, and even though they’re doing it time after time, they still show that inner story, and they still bring it out.
“That’s what makes the difference between a wonderful performance, and one that you treasure forever.”
Sherri was thus able to feel the spirit of the performers.
“You can feel it and the energy is there, the energy that shows,” she said.
The combined effect of the dancers, orchestral music, and backdrop created a complete and immersive experience.
“It’s absolutely wonderful, almost wants to … pull you into it,” Sherri said.
“And then all of a sudden you’re thinking ‘wow China.'”
With reporting by Jana Li.
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.