‘I love it’ Says San Francisco Ballet Dance Educator and Choreographer

January 12, 2014 12:37 am Last Updated: January 12, 2014 3:44 am

SAN FRANCISCO—Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of 5,000 years of civilization through classical Chinese dance continues to dazzle the Bay Area.

Preya Shah, who teaches ballet at the San Francisco Ballet, Laney College, Cal Performance’s AlleyCamp, and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, enjoyed the afternoon matinee performance of Shen Yun Jan. 11.

“I love it,” she said.

Ms. Shah, a dance educator and choreographer who graduated from UC Irvine with an MFA in dance, also holds a BA degree from UC Berkeley.

“I love the use of the props; I love the formations; I love how balanced the stage always is, how clean the technique is; so obviously [there is] a lot of training. I also love the … different tricks, the fans, and the chopsticks.”

Male Shen Yun dancers utilize chopsticks in the dance piece titled Mongolian Chopsticks. The program book states, “Alternating between fast, furious footwork and long, extended arm movements, Mongolian dance is a vivid testament to free-spirited vitality and boundless, expansive expression. Dancers use chopsticks to create a crisp, staccato beat that quickens the blood and stirs the heart.”

Ms. Shah described the effect of the chopsticks. “I really like how they are used for sound, how they hold the tempo and the rhythm as well—there is so much there. I would have to watch it a few times,” she said.

Having a distinguished background in dance and dance education, Ms. Shah enjoyed the level of training and discipline she saw in the Shen Yun dancers.

“You can tell it is obviously very clean and you can tell that by the uniformity of the dancers. It has a lot of really clear formations, clear positions; everyone is unified and I like that kind of work. It shows hard discipline, a lot of discipline behind the work and so I really do enjoy it,” she said.

Shen Yun’s website states, “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.”

Alongside the exquisite classical Chinese dancing and associated costumes, a Shen Yun performance is accompanied by the Shen Yun Orchestra, and an amazing digital projection.

Ms. Shah left the performance feeling inspired and explained how the vivid digital projection of Shen Yun aids the performance.

“I really really like the use of the projections,” she said. “I have done a lot of choreographies myself and I used projections a lot in my work … there are so many novel ideas they are using and really unique ideas like having dancers come out of the projections.”

Ms. Shah particularly enjoyed the piece titled Buddha’s Compassion Shines Forth. “I think I really like the last piece probably the most because it was very climactic and a lot of energy, and I like to see men on stage because I think they carry a different amount of energy,” she said.

To those who have not seen the performance this year, Ms. Shan commented, “I would say it is a really new experience with strong technique … Come watch it; it is absolutely beautiful; the costumes are absolutely gorgeous.”

Reporting by Alex Ma

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.