ORLANDO, Fla.—As a surprise for his wife, John Rivera, CEO and entrepreneur, drove her two and a half hours from Jacksonville to attend the Shen Yun Performing Arts concert at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
“My wife tried to see the show in Argentina and was unable to do it, so I surprised her today, and I brought her here to see the show,” said Mr. Rivera on March 16.
“It was an excellent performance … the orchestra was outstanding,” he said.
“For [the dancers] to be able to move to live music that way and be on cue was amazing,” he said. “The movement, the flow [and] the costumes were really, really wonderful to see … the colors, the saturation, everything combined.”
Mr. Rivera was impressed to learn that classical Chinese dance and music have roots in ancient Chinese culture, dating back 5,000 years.
According to the company’s website, Shen Yun has preserved the true aesthetics of the costumes and colors as well as this classical dance system—the way it has been passed down from antiquity—and presents this authentic culture in its purest form.
“It had a very deep cultural aspect to it, and the music combined with the dance was telling a real story,” said Mr. Rivera. “The combination of all of it really hit home.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based pieces that tell tales from ancient times to the modern day.
One of Shen Yun’s unique features is its orchestra. It’s the first in the world to permanently combine classical Western and Chinese instruments within a Western symphony orchestra.
“When I listened to the cues and the music, it sounded like the music was being played off of a DVD or a CD,” he said. “The orchestra was exceptional.”
Mr. Rivera was amazed by the erhu: a traditional Chinese two-stringed instrument that has been called the “Chinese violin.”
An incredibly expressive instrument, the erhu is capable of conveying a broad range of emotions, even imitating sounds from chirping birds to neighing horses, Shen Yun’s website explains.
“To see someone make that kind of sound with that kind of depth with two strings is phenomenal,” he said.
“I think more young people should see it [Shen Yun] because it sends a message,” he said. “It’s important for young people to understand that music [and culture] goes back thousands of years.”
Formerly in show business for 25 years, Mr. Rivera understood and appreciated the depth and commitment of Shen Yun.
“It’s a pleasure for both of us to be here,” he said. “I’m glad that we were able to make it tonight.”
Reporting by Sally Sun and Jennifer Schneider.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.