SAN JOSE, Calif.—Gary Koeppel has decades of experience curating and selling works of art, so he knows quality when he sees it. Shen Yun Performing Arts left such an impression on Koeppel that he has watched the performance three times in the last two years.
“[It] is a magnificent performance,” he said.
“You cannot see it anywhere. It’s never been done anywhere.”
Koeppel, who is also a writer, attended the performance at the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose, California, on Dec. 20. Shen Yun, a New York-based classical Chinese dance company, has just kicked off its 2019 tour that will span four continents and over a hundred cities.
The art dealer said he was most impressed by “the beauty of the ancient culture of China and the gracefulness as it’s portrayed by the dancers.”
“And it’s just exhilarating to see the grace of the movements of the dancers,” he said.
The classically trained dancers perform ethnic and folk dances from China’s 50-plus ethnic groups, and classical Chinese dance. Classical Chinese dance is an art form that has been refined over thousands of years and is, alongside ballet, one of the most complex dance systems in the world.
Shen Yun Performing Arts seeks to portray 5,000-years of divinely-inspired Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music. Many dances depict stories from China’s rich and diverse history, stories that transmit the inner meaning of a culture steeped in spiritual beliefs, including from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Referring to the depictions of ancient China on stage, Koeppel quipped, “I wish China were like this today. I would go there.”
Koeppel, who has opened six art galleries since the 1980s and hosted art events all over the world, said he appreciated how all the elements work together on stage.
“The music is spectacular. The background, the settings, the costumes, it all comes together as a superior experience and performance,” he said.
The tenor soloist also impressed Koeppel.
“[He had] a powerful voice. Beautifully in key. And very impressive, as was the subject matter of his song.”
Shen Yun’s performances feature vocal soloists, who sing in bel canto style, a traditional technique revived by the company. Vocalists sing original pieces in Chinese, with English translations of the lyrics projected on the digital backdrop. The song lyrics often portray deep spiritual themes within traditional Chinese culture, including the ideas of seeking truth, and returning to one’s true home.
The song lyrics resonated with Koeppel.
“They were very moving, very spiritual of course. Very uplifting,” he said.
The art dealer said he brings a new group of friends with him to each performance that he attends.
To encourage his friends to come, he tells them this: “Come to see an experience you will never have anywhere else.”
With reporting by Mark Cao and Cathy He.
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.