SAN JOSE, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts amazed audience members in San Jose, California, on Dec. 22 with its unique production of classical Chinese dance accompanied by an East-meets-West live orchestra. Among the theatergoers was investment banker Adi Upadhyayula, who found Shen Yun to be both entertaining and timeless.
“Learning about other cultures is definitely something I’ve always been interested in; it’s always nice to know what you don’t know, and this is a great way to come about that. And they’re bringing great teachings to us in a very entertaining style,” he said.
Shen Yun is based in New York and travels the globe each year with an all-new production. Its world-class artists treat audiences to a visual feast of choreography and brightly-colored costumes, portraying China’s 5,000 years of culture through dance and music, in a program of 20 vignettes.
“It was very entertaining to watch. The visuals definitely keep you on your toes. Watching them do what they do physically—it’s astonishing to watch that they’re able to do that. … [There are] a lot of mental recordings I will be taking away,” Upadhyayula said.
Classical Chinese dance has been passed down in China for thousands of years. According to Shen Yun’s website, this ancient art form “combines explosive athleticism with flowing elegance, and is one of the most expressive art forms in the world.” Audience members at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts agreed.
“It’s amazing. It’s very clear that they put a lot of hard work into this. The choreography has to be amazing … and their physical stamina and strength that they’re putting into it is great,” Upadhyayula said.
Some Shen Yun dance pieces tell stories and legends from Chinese history. Traditional virtues, such as benevolence and faith in the divine, can be found in these tales.
Upadhyayula described what he understood from the performance: “Time is definitely something that is going to slip us all by. What you come in with is what you leave with, and you can’t take anything for granted.”
He believes the ancient values in Shen Yun are still relevant in today’s world.
“It’s good to see that they are bringing that foundation and reinforcing that. … Especially with the singing that was done earlier, there are certain values that carry on and are timeless,” he said.
The singing he mentioned referred to the vocal solos sung in the traditional bel canto style. These songs have Chinese lyrics with English translations projected onto the backdrop for the audience. According to Shen Yun’s website, the original lyrics contain deep meaning and transcend cultural boundaries.
Upadhyayula was impressed to learn that classical Chinese dance was where other techniques, such as gymnastics, originated.
“You think that they draw upon other things, but … everything that you see here is actually the origination,” he said.
“If you have an opportunity, see it,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you have a moment to take it and can make it to a show, definitely do it.”
With reporting by Abraham Thompson and Sally Appert.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.