SAN JOSE, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts opened its four-show run in San Jose on Friday night to a standing ovation and two curtain calls. The audience at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts clearly liked what they saw, as exemplified by the words of praise from photographer-dancer duo, Carl Sermon and Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan, who saw the performance.
“This is a magnificent performance in terms of staging, in term of the choreography and the musicality—it's all beautiful,” said Ma*Shuqa who has been performing and teaching Middle Eastern dance for almost 40 years. Japanese by origin, her career has taken her to perform as far away as Cairo, Germany, and Athens.
“Timing is excellent, in terms of the projection and the choreography and the dancers. And everything they do—exiting the stage and returning, perfect—perfection,” she said.
Her husband and biggest fan, Sermon, has also built his career around dance performance—by photographing it.
“I am very appreciative of the artistic abilities and the acrobatic abilities—phenomenal. Really—for sure,” said Sermon, a professional with 30 years of experience capturing the beauty of dance photo.
“I'd like to be here with my camera,” he later added.
Shen Yun’s primary mission is to “restore 5,000 years of divinely-inspired Chinese culture,” according to the New York-based company’s website.
“It is very much evident that in this entire performance, [they] are playing out the story of China,” said Ma*Shuqa, adding, “Much of this is shown throughout the dance. I really like that [they're] giving the legacy and the history of China through these dances. … But the longevity and the hope that [they] give through the performance is everlasting. We appreciate it very much.”
Her husband agreed. "I liked the bringing to life of the legends of China," he said, mentioning the one dance that features the Monkey King, a famous character from the Chinese epic novel, Journey to the West.
One of the elements that makes Shen Yun performances so unique is its projected, animated backdrop, that interacts with the dancers on stage, an effect used in the Monkey King dance.
“I liked the way they integrated the projection of the background and bringing it right to the stage. I think it's just really great theatrics,” said the photographer.
Watching the show, Ma*Shuqa says that what she feels is “the energy of the youth” and “the beauty of the culture as well.”
With reporting by Kerry Huang and Cindy Drukier.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform three more shows at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, Sat. April 9 through Sun. April 10. For more information please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org