SAN DIEGO—Andy Jermstad, a professional musician who performs in Heartbeat City, a tribute band to the famous, multi-platinum 1980s band called The Cars, took his mother, Julia, to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the San Diego Civic Theatre March 27, 2016.
Both mother and son were highly impressed.
“What was really amazing to me was they made it look easy. The dancers and performers made it look easy,” Mr. Jermstad said. “It was technical but beautiful at the same time. So you combine those two elements of technical precision and beauty and grace at the same time. It was really, really something enjoyable.”
“Magnificient. There is not anything that is equal,” his mother said of Shen Yun. She, similar to her son, was amazed by Shen Yun dancers’ precision. “I doesn’t look real because it’s so perfect,” she said, adding that the dancers don’t seem human.
Shen Yun is a New York-based, non-profit classical Chinese dance and music company that travels to 100 cities in 20 countries across five continents for almost six months each year.
Indeed, “flawless” is a word often used by audience members to describe Shen Yun. Shen Yun artists spend countless hours perfecting their craft both on and off their tour throughout the year.
A single performance includes approximately 20 vignettes that bring to life ancient Chinese culture, which is thought to be divinely inspired.
While most pieces are dances: classical Chinese dance, ethnic dances from China’s minority groups, or folk dances from China’s different regions, Shen Yun also includes vocal and instrumental soloists.
As a professional bass guitar player, Mr. Jermstad was impressed by the erhu solo.
“I really love the erhu performance,” he said. “Beautiful. Beautiful instrument—similar to a violin, but a different sound.”
The erhu is a 4,000-year-old, two-stringed instrument that produces a wide range of highly expressive sounds. Shen Yun’s website states that the erhu’s melodies can be tender and sonorous or “stirring and somber, a quality eminently suitable for conveying the grand pageant of China’s history and the emotions of its people.”
“It really does tell a story, doesn’t it,” Mr. Jermstad said of the instrument.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture, which was replete with values such as veneration for the divine, respect for parents, loyalty, sincerity, and courage.
Two pieces of the performance are set in modern day China, and they depict spiritual believers’ steadfast faith in the face of violent persecution.
Mr. Jermstad particularly enjoyed those pieces.
“So that’s wonderful that their production is like this. They can keep it alive,” he said, referring to Shen Yun artists’ efforts to maintain and revive traditional Chinese values.
Reporting by Sophia Fang and Albert Roman
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.
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.