Assistant Surgeon Finds Shen Yun Mesmerizing

By Sally Appert
Sally Appert
Sally Appert
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December 29, 2016 Updated: December 29, 2016

FRESNO, Calif.—Bill and Kristin Farmer were enthralled by Shen Yun Performing Arts when they attended it together on the evening of Dec. 27.

“I am completely and totally mesmerized by this show. It is absolutely spectacular,” said Mr. Farmer, who assists in surgery as a profession. “Spectacular and phenomenal. There’s just not enough adjectives to describe how awesome this is. It really is. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.”

Based in New York, Shen Yun aims to bring China’s ancient culture to life onstage through classical Chinese dance and music. Its five touring companies are currently traveling the world on their 11th annual tour.

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer watched the performance at the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno, California.

“This is just phenomenal. It’s like a feast for the eyes—the color, the dancing,” said Mrs. Farmer.

With bright handmade costumes, flowing sleeves, and props such as handkerchiefs and fans, Shen Yun dancers create choreographed displays of color. A state-of-the-art digital backdrop adds landscapes and scenery.

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer also enjoyed Shen Yun’s music, including the erhu, an ancient Chinese instrument with two strings.

“That erhu, it sounds like somebody’s crying,” said Mrs. Farmer. “It just brings out your emotions. I think it touches on every emotion.”

Her husband noted that the instrument sounds like a person speaking.

“The erhu, that’s unbelievable. It really is,” he said.

Some of Shen Yun’s dance pieces tell stories of ancient China, and others depict modern tales of courage in the face of oppression. Because the Chinese communist regime suppresses traditional culture, Shen Yun cannot perform in China today. Mrs. Farmer found that sad.

“We’re fortunate that we got to come and see this tonight,” she said.

“I didn’t realize … that there’s still that much communist oppression in China,” Mr. Farmer said. “I think that’s something people forget about.”

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer both agreed that the performance is a “must see.”

“It’s got history, it’s got dance,…music, color,” said Mrs. Farmer. “I’ve had goosebumps the entire show. … It’s hitting on my emotions.”

She was sorry the performance is only in Fresno for two nights.

“It’s a real treat,” she said. “People who didn’t get to see this missed out.”

 “What a loss for them,” her husband said.

“Do not miss this show,” said Mrs. Farmer. “Do not.”

Reporting by Lily Yu and Sally Appert.

Sally Appert
works with Cassie Ryan science articles China article