SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Douglas Chamberlin took his wife, Caroline, to see the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company’s performance at The Granada Theatre to celebrate her birthday on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on March 30.
Mr. Chamberlin has been a script writer for about 25 years. He is known for several top box office movies, among them, Toy Story 2 (1999) earned him an Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production.
The music and dance performance enchanted both Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlin. “It’s very good. Very bold and very impressive,” said Mr. Chamberlin.
“I thought it was a terrific show. I thought it was very colorful and very emotional,” said Mrs. Chamberlin. “It’s my birthday present. I asked for it.”
Independent and nonprofit, New York-based Shen Yun was established in 2006 by artists from around the world with the mission of using the universal language of dance and music to revive China’s divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture, which had nearly been completely destroyed by the current regime in China over the last several decades.
For eight years, Shen Yun has quickly become an international sensation, with four companies simultaneously touring around the world.
According to the Shen Yun website, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”
Mr. Chamberlin was impressed with every aspect of the classical Chinese dance, “the quality of the dancing I think, just very well choreographed and it was very colorful and bold,” explained Mr. Chamberlin. “The visual imagery, the way it looked, it was just very impressive—it was very overpowering. Bold is the best word.”
Each dance is given context using an animated digital backdrop, which at times interacts with the dancers.
“These digital backdrop designs complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, color of the costumes, specific dance movements, props, lighting, the story being told, particular notes played by the orchestra, and special audio effects,” explains the website.
Mrs. Chamberlin was impressed with the backdrops, especially how the dancers leapt from the stage and appeared on the screen in flight as animated characters, then back from the screen to the stage. “I really found the whole jumping out of the backdrop thing just imaginative and creative. And I really liked that,” she said.
Another primary aspect of Shen Yun is the live music, with all of the dance pieces set to original scores played by the Shen Yun Orchestra.
Mr. Chamberlin enjoyed the orchestra and its music. “I like the fact that it was a mix of Western and Chinese instruments. So I liked that a lot.”
“The Shen Yun Orchestra masterfully blends two of the world’s greatest classical music traditions. Ancient Chinese instruments such as the soul-stirring erhu and the delicate pipa lead the melody on top of a full orchestra of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass. The Western orchestra with its energy and grandeur, and the Chinese instruments with their distinct tones and styles, create a dramatic new sound,” explains the website.
Mr. Chamberlin said that he would recommend Shen Yun to others. “I would tell them that the show was very energetic, and very beautiful.”
Reporting by Jana Li and Thanh 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.
The 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