SAN FRANCISCO—When Charles Linquist watched Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company at the War Memorial Opera House with his wife, Rebecca, on Jan. 4, he was stunned by the unity of the dancers.
“I’m not used to seeing so many people doing so many things in perfect synchronization,” he said.
“What really impressed me was the way the women walked. The way they could walk so effortlessly and quickly. Sideways, forward—their body didn’t shake; it wasn’t like we walk. The way that they did it on their toes—it was just amazing,” he said.
Mr. Linquist is chief technology officer of Dawn VME Products, an electronics company, and Mrs. Linquist is an American accent coach and founder of English by the Hour.
Both were impressed with New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts, which travels to 100 cities around the world each year on its mission to revive the divinely inspired culture of China, according to the company website.
Each Shen Yun company includes dozens of male and female dancers who bring China’s rich culture to life, from 5,000 years ago to the present.
Mr. Linquist said he was impressed by the choreography.
“Their flips were amazing, and I just think both the men and the women were very well-coordinated. And they practiced a lot—it showed,” he said.
An innovative part of every Shen Yun performance is the digital, animated projection that makes the audience feel they have been transported to different realms.
According to the Shen Yun website, “The backdrops are as grand as they are intricate. So remarkably true to life, they allow you to forget where you are, and journey to another place and time.”
Mrs. Linquist enjoyed how the dancers onstage would integrate with animated characters in the backdrop.
“I’ve never seen that before,” she said. “It really works with fairy tales because you have animations and you have the story and then you have it coming to life with the characters [onstage] and their movement. That was fascinating, too.”
She was also intrigued by the educational aspect of Shen Yun.
“I absolutely loved it. It was fascinating,” she said. “I think, culturally, there’s a lot of things that we don’t know as Westerners, and it’s good to see the different regions.”
Each year, Shen Yun includes ethnic dances from among 55 minority ethnic groups throughout China. According to the Shen Yun website, each ethnic group’s “distinct ways of life reflect discrepancies in local topography, climate, and religious tradition.”
Mrs. Linquist was also intrigued to see from the performance that practices that were allowed in China in the past are no longer allowed. For example, the Falun Dafa meditation discipline.
“I’ve seen people in San Francisco doing it,” she said, adding that despite the practice being suppressed in China today, “People all over the world would like to participate in [these things],” she said.
With reporting by Lily Yu and Albert Roman
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.