THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts brought the glory of China’s 5,000 years of civilization to California residents at the Fred Kavli Theatre on Wednesday, March 19th.
Among the audience members was a group of four friends seeing the show together. They each had their own reflections on the show and parts that were special to them.
Larry Lord, owner of Larry Lord & Associates, a real estate firm said, “I thought it was great. I really like the singers quite a bit. I liked the dancers but I really enjoyed the singers, and the lyrics involved in the music, very much so.”
Singing in the bel canto style, Shen Yun’s vocal music has won acclaim the world over. According to the Shen Yun website, “The song texts the singers perform are original works written for these pieces. Brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and containing deep layers of meaning, the texts go beyond the boundaries of nation, race, and culture, and have been fondly received and appreciated the world over. “
Also in attendance was Marilyn Schroeder, a high school teacher. She really appreciated the music of the performance. According to the Shen Yun website, “Many have tried and failed. But the ability to seamlessly blend these two systems to create one fresh, harmonious sound is what makes the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra unique.”
Seeing Shen Yun’s unique musical style for the first time was a treat for Ms. Schroeder. She said “It was wonderful … how they combine[d] the different kinds of Chinese instruments with American” ones.
Steven Mosley, appreciated Shen Yun from both an entertainment, as well as a professional perspective. Mr. Mosley writes and produces for syndicated Christian television programs, many of which are on TBN; the world’s largest religious television network, broadcast nationwide.
Mr. Mosley said, “Their timing is excellent. I do theatrical things for churches all the time, and I know how hard it is. Their timing is very, very good.”
Mr. Mosley went on to say, “It’s just a striking picture of Chinese culture. The costuming is obviously very appealing, and you do feel that you’re getting into classic Chinese culture. It’s really fun to feel some kind of classic cultural element.”
Shen Yun is not able to perform in China, as the governing Chinese Communist Party opposes its portrayal of classical Chinese culture.
According to the Shen Yun website, “The Party discovered that traditional themes can be replaced with its own violent ideology to turn the arts into a strong propaganda tool. The ultimate goal is to substitute remnants of traditional Chinese culture in people’s minds with Party Culture, thereby safeguarding the regime’s power.”
In contrast, “Shen Yun’s goal is to revive the authentic and original manifestation of traditional Chinese culture and art. On stage, Shen Yun performances bring back these traditional values that have sustained and created cultural expression for so many generations. The mere representation of this lost heritage and its virtues immediately, by way of contrast, unmasks the Party and its ideology of struggle.”
Overall, Mr. Mosley felt the dignity inherent in traditional Chinese culture, through seeing Shen Yun. He said, “I think it’s classy, to have one word for it. It’s classy—elegant.”
The last attendee of this group was Ken Hammer. One thing that caught his eye were Shen Yun’s animated backdrops.
“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,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Mr. Hammer was wowed by how smoothly the dancers were able to interact with the set created by the animated backdrops. “I have to say the films and the backdrop added a lot to it. I really liked the way they incorporated the background—the animation and incorporating it into live action. The way they tied the two together and how the dancers jumped out of the backdrop. It flowed really well,” he said.
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Miles Segni
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