Chief Technical Officer: Shen Yun Is ‘Consciousness-Expanding’

January 14, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO—Chief technical officer Steve West had never seen a Shen Yun Performing Arts’ classical Chinese dance and music presentation. But after the New York-based company’s performance at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House on Jan. 11, he was glowing.

“It was a wonderful performance. It covers so many different dimensions. It brings together old and new, East and West,” he said. “It brings together tremendous art, music, movement—a very moving performance. I really, thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Shen Yun re-enacts China’s heroic legends, myths, folkloric tales and modern-day stories through the performing arts, a concept envisioned in 2006 by a group of talented artists aspiring to reawaken China’s divinely-inspired traditional culture.

As the chief technical officer of a leading telecommunications company, Mr. West commented on the state-of-the-art digital backdrops designed to lift the stage, and transport audiences to different realms.

“I think it was a good way of expressing emotion through those kinds of mechanisms,” Mr. West said. “I think also the technology was brought into it as well to make it more up-to-date. So you have the combination of old and new, the yin and the yang if you like, in this new era we’re going into in 2015—very good show.”

In addition, Mr. West gave thought to the Shen Yun dancers moving precisely in time with the Shen Yun Orchestra.

“It’s quite an interesting mixture to have that full orchestra with all the precise Western instruments, and yet, also with the organic flow of the more Chinese style. It was very nice to have that combination. And dance as well. The performances were so excellent.”

Mr. West said he was most impressed that the Shen Yun performance was suitable for everyone and of all ages.

“So much of what we have today is almost too simplified, whereas this show has all these different dimensions. And yet they’re accessible to anybody, of any background, or any age or interest, from a technologist to a health care worker, to an artist, whatever. Anyone would like it.”

Mr. West also spoke of Shen Yun’s versatility in classical Chinese dance.

“Very athletic, very energetic, and expressive style. I think that’s the thing that really stands out. It’s not ballet or dance in the traditional sense. It’s very different, and yet it’s very entertaining to any audience, whether they’re from maybe an Asian culture or a Western culture.”

According to Shen Yun’s website, many of the techniques we see in gymnastics today in fact have been part of classical Chinese dance for thousands of years.

The website states, “Indeed, when audience members see our dancers … fly across the stage, they often say things like: ‘I loved the acrobatics,’ or ‘the flexibility reminded me of gymnastics.’ But these moves come from neither gymnastics nor acrobatics. They actually all originate from classical Chinese dance.”

“[It was] eye-opening, or consciousness-expanding—to see this kind of combination in one event, concentrated so well and put together and choreographed so beautifully,” Mr. West said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit

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.