LOS ANGELES—Parme Giuntini, art historian and assistant chair of liberal studies at Otis College of Art and Design, knows many people with Chinese ancestry living or attending school in Los Angeles, but she has never experienced authentic traditional Chinese culture before.
That is, not until she attended Shen Yun Performing Arts on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater.
“It was fabulous, absolutely wonderful,” said Ms. Giuntini. “This was my first opportunity to see anything of [Chinese] traditional culture, so I feel very lucky.”
Shen Yun was created in New York in 2006 with the clear goal of reviving 5,000 years of true, divinely-inspired Chinese culture through spectacular music and dance, according to the company website.
Ms. Giuntini said she did not realize classical Chinese dance and folk dances were such a large part of the history and various ethnicities of ancient China. She herself has taken ballet lessons on and off her entire life, and she said she was the only one in her class who had not yet seen Shen Yun. Her husband ordered them tickets several months ago.
“It was absolutely everything that I expected and more,” she said. “I’m amazed at the athletic ability and the grace. … I can understand the technique and they are absolutely terrific.”
The art historian noticed many details of the dancing that others may not have seen. She said Shen Yun’s dancers’ toes were always pointed perfectly and their difficult leg raises above their heads were excellent. She complimented their beautiful form, especially with so many performers on stage at the same time, wearing such long, flowing costumes that could easily get tangled.
“I think the level of expertise was really spectacular,” she said. “It makes a huge difference if everyone is always in line, and their lines are beautiful, their coordination is beautiful.”
An extra level of beauty, but also difficulty, comes from Shen Yun’s live orchestra, since the dancers have to keep in time with the conductor and the musicians, who play both classic Western instruments and traditional Chinese instruments.
Ms. Giuntini also appreciated the musical soloists in the performance. She loved the soloist who played the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese violin, and said the singers’ voices were magnificently trained and powerful.
“Especially the woman. She had such a range and vibrato, so that was really wonderful to hear,” she said. “The young woman who played that two-stringed instrument [erhu], that was amazing. I didn’t think you could do that much with just two strings.”
Although Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditional culture has been nearly lost, the performing arts company can be seen by millions around the globe and has become an international phenomenon, states the website.
“It’s great that the rest of us have an opportunity to hear it and see it. It’s wonderful. Keep doing this,” she said to the organizers of the performance.
Ms. Giuntini said she would definitely have to come back next year to see the company’s all-new production.
“This is magic and color and movement,” she said. “Absolutely magical.”
Reporting by NTD Television 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.