SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—With 5,000 years to work with, Shen Yun Performing Arts has quite the foundation to draw on in creating its one-of-a-kind performances each year. A decade later, artists are still astounded by New York-based Shen Yun’s fresh take on ancient history.
At The Granada Theater, oil painter and ceramics artist Veronica Lambert was inspired by Shen Yun artists’ expression.
“It’s all very touching. It is touching from the moment you come in and until the moment that each dance ends. You realize that you have lived through a lifetime of expression and you have done it with the people who are expressing it best,” Ms. Lambert said.
“It’s the dancing, it’s the colors, and it’s the thought behind the history that they are expressing, all of the above, all of those things,” she said. “I wanted to cry. It brought me to tears because it was so beautiful. The colors are gorgeous. The dancing is spectacular. And it makes you want to, it fills you with emotions and it moves you to tears.”
She described the blues and the greens, the colors that were taken from the earth and rainbows, and how the dancers were adorned with them.
“The dancers are very agile, fresh, nimble, and exhilarating, all of those things,” she said. “The fact that they are expressing something that’s really moving and exhilarating for them. And it came across. It is great.”
Such expression may come from what Shen Yun explains is the “bearing” component of classical Chinese dance, the foundation of the performances.
On top of difficult tumbling techniques and the individual movements and postures of the dance form, classical Chinese dancers emphasize the inner spirit in their expression. In Shen Yun performer interviews, the dancers explain that only by having a pure heart and the wish to inspire and uplift the audiences can they deliver a truly touching performance.
This is coupled with the fact that many of these artists meditate together. According to the program book, the artists have taken a page from the book of the ancients, striving for self-betterment and self-cultivation, in an effort to produce truly moving art.
Traditional Chinese culture valued principles like benevolence, kindness, loyalty, justice, and wisdom, the program goes on to explain, and these values are played out through the stories on stage.
Sitting very close to the stage was Kenneth McKashan, a painter, who said the performance brought him contentment with his life.
“It was a fabulous performance. [I’ve] never seen anything like it before. [I’ve] never seen anybody do on the stage as they’ve done tonight,” Mr. McKashan said.
“I feel very settled. Very much at ease,” he said. “It did connect with me. It made me aware of where I am in my life, it made me more settled in where I am.”
He was amazed by the “altitude that these people took” in the aerial feats and tumbling techniques, and the use of color and light across the stage. He was touched by the voice of the soprano, who sang in Chinese in the traditional bel canto style. He said he was inspired by the level of effort it took to present what Shen Yun did on the stage.
“They were joy. They were expressing joy in their faces; every one of them. I could just tell they were enjoying what they were doing,” he said. “It’s something you have to see in order to believe it.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Marie-Paul Baxiu, and Catherine Yang
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.