Former Professional Dancer Impressed by Shen Yun’s Revival of Classical Chinese Dance

January 2, 2022

COSTA MESA, Calif.—For retired professional dancer Patra Canfield, preserving traditional dances is very important. So she was very happy to see Shen Yun Performing Arts revive China’s classical Chinese dance, an art form with thousands of years of history.

“I’m very impressed by it,” Ms. Canfield said after seeing the performance at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Jan. 1.

“I think it’s very important to keep all traditional arts alive.”

Besides story-based dances presented with classical Chinese dance, alongside folk and ethnic Chinese dances, New York-based Shen Yun boasts a unique orchestra that combines traditional Chinese instruments with classical Western instruments, and a patented digital backdrop technology.

The animated backdrops create seamless interaction between the projections and the actors on the stage.

Ms. Canfield praised the incorporation of this technology into the dances.

“I appreciate the melding of tradition with the technology of today,” she said.

Ms. Canfield’s friend, Tom deMartino, a DJ, also found Shen Yun‘s performance impressive.

“It’s absolutely beautiful, and it’s captivating with all the different colors and how they are incorporating different symbolism and qualities. It’s fabulous to watch,” he said.

Mr. deMartino had high praise for Shen Yun‘s orchestra and the way it blends classical Western and Chinese instruments.

“You can hear that in the music. It melded really well. It’s great,” he said.

Shen Yun‘s website explains what makes its orchestra unique.

“First, the Western orchestra serves as a foundation, accentuating the distinct sound of Chinese instruments. Second, the bedrock of soul-stirring melodies from the ancient Middle Kingdom is fully brought to life by a Western symphony,” it says.

“Traditional Chinese music emphasizes the expression of inner feelings—the ancients always used musical instruments to relate their states of mind. Western music, meanwhile, focuses on the overall effect of the musical ensemble—and to achieve that, arrangement and harmony are of utmost importance. Shen Yun’s music combines these approaches to capture the essence of both East and West.”

Shen Yun’s performance is a must-see for those who appreciate arts and culture, Mr. deMartino said.

“If you have an interest in traditional Chinese culture, if you are any kind of fan of dance and history, it’s a must-see.”

Reporting by Jack Bradley and Diane Cordemans.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.