CLAREMONT, Calif.—Professional ballerina Rachel Banta had a great experience on Sunday afternoon at Shen Yun Performing Arts with her brother Isaiah at Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College.
“It was all very uplifting,” she said. “What better way to keep tradition alive than through art?”
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 in New York with the goal of reviving 5000 years of true, divinely-inspired Chinese culture, once almost lost, through spectacular music and dance.
“As a dancer, particularly, I thought how hard they worked showed through, and how much they love what they do,” said Miss Banta. “They seem to kind of gleam inspiration from their culture, which was really inspiring for me.”
Ms. Banta has been a ballet dancer since the age of 5. Now with 14 years experience, she dances with the San Diego Ballet and is a member of the faculty at The Ballet Studio in Murrieta, California.
She and her brother have also played piano since a young age.
“My favorite part was the music,” said Isaiah Banta of Shen Yun. “I just love the deep powerful sound in the orchestra.”
A Shen Yun performance combines the highest caliber of classical Chinese dance, a full orchestra with both Eastern and Western instruments, elegant costumes, an interactive digital backdrop, and musical soloists, all in one unique experience. Also included are story-based and ethnic dances from China’s rich historical landscape.
“I thought it was very diverse,” said Ms. Banta. “And I love the costumes. The costumes are so gorgeous.”
On a technical level, Ms. Banta thought the dancing in Shen Yun was very clean and the dancers were incredibly in sync. She also noticed how the male dancers performed more jumps and their style was more powerful, while the female dancers focused more on the arms and moved very delicately across the stage with smaller feet movements.
“You could see [the story] in the dance movements too, which was nice,” she said.
She also appreciated the emcees for the performance, who introduced each vignette and provided interesting background information.
Ms. Banta said the entire Shen Yun performance was very touching. She especially enjoyed the opening dance piece named “Salvation and Renewal,” where celestial maidens with lotus flowers dance among the clouds and a male dance piece called “Drums of the Grasslands.”
“Both of those were just fantastic,” she said.
She also appreciated the positive, family-friendly values inherent in the performance. “It’s good for all ages to learn about different cultures,” she said.
To summarize her afternoon with Shen Yun, Ms. Banta said, “It was a unique experience, with great choreography, great music, and great costumes.”
“I liked it,” said Mr. Banta. “It was something I haven’t seen before. So I was really looking forward to it.”
Reporting by Michael Ye 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.