SAN FRANCISCO—Business owner Judy Green and architect Mario Vallezco were impressed by Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of classical Chinese dance, music, and song.
Held at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Jan. 9, New York-based Shen Yun lit up the stage with intricate dance techniques, an orchestra joining Eastern and Western instruments, dazzling costumes, stunning backdrops, and amazing solo musicians and vocalists.
Mr. Vallezco had seen Shen Yun before. “And I love it, love it. Great, great performance,” he said.
As for Ms. Green, this was her first time seeing Shen Yun live, after only watching promotions. Asked by Mr. Vallezco if she wanted to go, she was thrilled to accept.
“Absolutely,” she said. “So here we are. It’s just spectacular; I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very beautiful. The costumes were gorgeous. And what I really liked was the folk tales, the old stories from the old country and seeing all the elderly Asian people here. I think that was something that they would recognize from their past and they could relate to.”
“I thought it was really something to see it here in this country,” said Ms. Green.
Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces were adapted from ancient myths, heroic legends, traditional tales, and modern day stories, to help bring to fruition the dream of a talented group of artists.
In 2006, the group formed just one company with a will to reawaken China’s 5,000-year-old divinely inspired culture, almost quashed by more than 60 years of communist rule.
Today, in its ninth season, Shen Yun has four companies traveling the world performing simultaneously, seen by millions in more than 100 major cities across the globe.
Mr. Vallezco was in awe. “I’m really impressed with the way they perform and the storytelling of the performance, it’s really great,” he said.
Ms. Green was touched by one story-dance, The Power of Compassion, which tells about the ongoing persecution in China today of Falun Gong—an ancient form of meditation based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—by the communist regime.
“That’s kind of sad to me,” she said. “I didn’t realize that [the persecution was happening].”
The Snow-capped Celebration was another story-dance Mr. Allezcro particularly liked.
“Tibetan men dance to a zestful song. They form a line, admiring the view below Lhasa’s Potala Palace and they jump and leap, twirling their sleeves in celebration,” according to the program book.
“I think it was great seeing the costumes and the story,” said Mr. Vallezco. “The progression of the act was really, really good.”
The animated digital backdrops designed to lift the stage and transport the audience to other realms integrates with the orchestra and a dance at hand were all perfectly synchronized, Ms. Green said.
“When they fly to the left and then they pop out, or they fly to the right and they pop out the same, you know, and immediately, it was like they flew down and they would just come up. The timing was great, really good,” said Ms. Green.
Each dance was introduced by Shen Yun emcees before a performance began.
“It was really amazing. They would tell the story, narrate the story, and then you watched them act it out. And I couldn’t believe how precisely they were in their acting out, their expressions, their facial expressions. You really knew what was going on, without any words. I couldn’t get over that, they were very, very precise on that.”
Shen Yun performs mostly classical Chinese dance, which is a vast and independent system of dance passed down through the dynasties. A unique point of classical Chinese dance is the emphasis on bearing in addition to form and technique, as “the spirit leads form, so that form is imbued with spirit,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Reporting by Gary Wang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.