THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—March 20 was a night for Hollywood producers to be delighted by a sold-out performance of the world renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the Fred Kavli Theatre.
Among them were Kimberly and Craig Darian; the latter is co-chairman & CEO of Occidental Entertainment Group Holdings, Inc., co-chairman & CEO of Tricor Entertainment, Inc., chairman & CEO of Darian Management Group, LLC, and chairman & CEO of DMG Holdings, Inc.
He is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Producers Guild of America, and serves on several civic and philanthropic organizations.
Also attending was Albert Sweet, co-chairman & founder of Occidental Entertainment Group Holdings. He is a prominent executive, entrepreneur, Hollywood commercial real estate developer, and a philanthropist who is active in numerous civic, political, and charitable endeavors. Mr. Sweet’s dedication has always been to humanitarian causes that affect people of all backgrounds and faiths.
Joining them was Jackie Goldberg, also known as the “Pink Lady”, a motivational speaker, teacher, actor, writer, and toastmaster. The beautiful Pink Lady was Miss Senior L.A. County in 2005, and acts in stage, films, and commercials.
Mr. Darian said, “Very enjoyable.” Mrs. Darian added, “I enjoyed the show very much.”
“I loved it,” said Mr. Sweet. “It was wonderful.”
An independent nonprofit, New York-based Shen Yun was established in 2006 by artists from around the world with the mission of using the universal language of dance and music to revive China’s divinely-inspired traditional Chinese culture, which had nearly been completely destroyed by the communist regime in China over the last several decades.
The Shen Yun website describes the performance: “Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.”
Mr. Darian said, “It was a delightful performance of dance, costumes, and originality with a very inspiring message that’s well worth learning.”
According to the website, “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture.”
The performance consists of a variety of vignettes that transport audiences to the scenes of ancient myths and legends, modern stories of courage, and traditional ethnic villages—each in their own way embodying the values of traditional Chinese culture, which is very spiritual.
Mr. Darian was delighted by the spirituality inherent in traditional Chinese culture.
“Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” explains the website.
“I thought that it spoke very well [about] the relationship between heaven and earth and also the subservient role of human while here on earth to live, learn, improve our lives for a better here after. I thought that was very interesting component,” he said. The “divine aspect was very well used in telling the story.”
The performance includes scenes from both ancient and contemporary China, and in every scene traditional Chinese values are displayed.
The website explains some of those values: “Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated. Heroes are extolled for their compassion and tolerance as much as their courage or determination when facing adversity.”
Ms. Goldberg saw the current situation in China through the performance, “I think it had a very subliminal message of what was happening, especially what’s happening China.”
One of the dance pieces she was referring to entitled The Steadfast Lotus, which depicts the ongoing persecution of people who practice Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation discipline based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The persecution was instigated by the Chinese communist regime in 1999 and continues to this day.
“The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is officially an atheist regime, it is afraid of the freedom of expression this arts company enjoys in the West,” explains the website. “Despite employing these multiple tactics, the CCP has been unable to stop the performances. Shen Yun now tours the world, performing in over 100 cities every year; most shows are sold-out.”
However, according to the website, “Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditional culture has been nearly lost.”
Ms. Goldberg said, “[Shen Yun] couldn’t perform there. I felt bad that China took the attitude, not to have their people have this type of entertainment. I think it’s a shame. And hopefully something will be done someday.”
Ms. Goldberg was impressed with Shen Yun dancers. “The cast was absolutely awesome,” she said. “They must study absolutely 10, 12 hours a day.”
According to the website, “Shen Yun draws top artists from around the world. With a passion for the classical arts, they join Shen Yun in its mission to revive a culture that was once almost lost,” explains the website.
“Classical Chinese dance has its own set of training methods in basic skills and has strict training in both physical expression and specific postures. It also involves learning combinations of leaps, turns, flips, spins and other aerial and tumbling techniques. It is a vast and independent system of dance.”
Ms. Goldberg marveled at the choreographer, “The choreographer should be congratulated because that takes an amount of work.”
Mr. Darian was impressed by the unique aspect of Shen Yun is the state-of-the-art digital backdrop that interacts with the dancers to create a full theatrical effect.
“[I was] very engaged by the colorful costumes, and particularly interested in how well the performers interacted with the pre-recorded screen animation. That synchronization was beautiful,”
said Mr. Darian.
“The choreography was excellent, visually spectacular. The synchronization with the screen, on-screen animation was excellent,” he said.
Mr. Sweet said, “Everything was wonderful and in sync. The dynamics of the background and how it blended in with the live stuff.”
Mr. Darian concluded by saying that he would recommend Shen Yun to everyone.
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