COSTA MESA, Calif.—Janice Horgan, company CEO, missed out on tickets to Shen Yun Performing Arts last year, so she was sure to book early this year—especially because it was also her husband’s birthday present.
She was left awestruck by the two-hour journey through China’s semi-divine culture.
“I loved everything about it,” Janice said.
“It was wonderful, I loved the visual part of it, the emotional and mental part of it, the colors, the music and the acting and the athleticism of the dancers.”
“All combined into one, marvellous experience, just loved it. Fantastic!”
Janice and her husband Daniel Horgan saw the performance at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, on April 17.
The New York-based classical Chinese dance company is currently touring the world, showcasing 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture to modern audiences. Its two-hour long program includes various different segments ranging from classical Chinese dance vignettes, to vocal soloists, and dance-based storytelling.
Daniel, who is president of the company Janice runs, Cosmo-Co Polymers Inc., was likewise impressed with the production, and singled out praise for the dancers.
“The athleticism of the people … was just fantastic. And boy they work—They work hard,” he said.
Shen Yun’s performers are world-class classical Chinese dancers, having been rigorously trained in the art form, as well as in various ethnic and folk dance styles. Classical Chinese dance is a complex dance system formed over thousands of years, and involves difficult flips and tumbling techniques and an array of unique movements and expressions. It sits alongside ballet as one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world.
Janice enjoyed learning more about traditional Chinese culture through the stories told through dance and music, and was pleasantly surprised with the humorous aspects of some of those stories.
Meanwhile, Daniel appreciated how the two emcees explained the stories depicted on stage, which he said helped with absorbing the performance.
The stories portrayed in the production encapsulate the values and teachings lying at the foundation of traditional Chinese culture. Such values stem from a belief in the divine, and have been transmitted for thousands of years uninterrupted until the Chinese Communist Party seized power seven decades ago.
While the stories originated one particular culture, Daniel sensed universal themes flowing through the performance.
“We might have a different ethnic background, we all come from [a] different country, right, but there may be some universal messages through the show trying to pass to the audience,” he said.
In the final segment, depicting suppression of faith in modern-day China, Janice found an optimistic message.
“It shows some of the things that aren’t so great right now in our culture, but seems there’s still hope,” she said.
“I think at the end there is still hope because of their beliefs, their beliefs in Chinese culture, where you still have the opportunity to get back to that beginning, if you live right.”
With reporting by Linda Jiang.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.