PORTLAND, Ore.—At Portland’s Keller Auditorium Tuesday evening, 5,000 years of Chinese civilization took the stage, and Ms. Jueria Cranfield loved every single thing she saw.
“Oh, I loved it. This was spectacular,” said Ms. Cranfield, massage therapist from Vancouver, Washington, after watching New York-based Shen Yun on April 12. “I will definitely come again next year.”
She loved “well, just everything… the 3-D in it was amazing, seeing how they fall in and fly out, the music, the instruments, oh my god, I have a really good ear and I know different types of tones and that’s the reason I bought the CD, because I was like, ‘I’ve got to have this, I’m not going to get this anywhere else.'”
Shen Yun’s website sums up the effect of its musical achievements: “Shen Yun has succeeded in doing what many have tried and failed: seamlessly blending both Chinese and Western instruments in one orchestra. Where else can you hear traditional Chinese instruments—like the soulful erhu and the delicate pipa—alongside violins, trumpets, and clarinets?”
Ms. Cranfield shared that being a massage therapist, she often uses music in her work that enhances the therapeutic healing effect. She also said that as far as she can remember, she has loved Chinese music and the unique Chinese instruments but never knew their names.
Thus, she was very excited to learn the names and Chinese pronunciations of the Chinese instruments used in the orchestra, recounting them and saying she will not ever forget them now.
The Shen Yun Orchestra’s all-original repertoire blends the spirit of Chinese music with the power of a Western orchestra, according to the company’s website. Strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass accentuate the sound of ancient Chinese instruments.
Ms. Cranfield said, “The way they interacted with each other, the way they flow, the way they intertwined with each other was very great. It was well put together: the masterpiece. … It was very, very good.”
Combining the exquisite beauty of Chinese melodies with the grandeur of the Western orchestra, Shen Yun takes musical storytelling to a whole new level.
‘The dancing was amazing’
Shen Yun explains why classical Chinese dance is at the heart of its performances. “Built on traditional aesthetics, classical Chinese dance is the perfect tool for reviving ancient values and virtues.”
Ms. Cranfield was just as impressed with the dancing as she was with the music, commenting on the twirling and movements across the stage, and the different costumes in every dance. She had seen stylized martial arts movements in movies—like “Crouching Tiger”—but this was something different.
“I saw the different types of dancing, and I was surprised to see that here in the show it was very smooth, very fluid, very fast paced; it was very, very good.”
“Fairies of the Sea,” a dance, where a group of women wore light blue skirts and held long silk fans, gave Ms. Cranfield the illusion that they were in the water. The program book describes this dance: “Ancient Chinese legends speak of delicate fairy maidens, only visible to the pure heart.”
Ms. Cranfield also liked “The Lady of the Moon,” which retells a classic legend of the origin of the moon goddess Chang’E, according to the program book. And with the digital backdrop, it looked like the dancers could fly off into the sky.
Ms. Cranfield also mentioned that “Even the hosts … were very good at interacting with each other between the Chinese and the English. “Then he [the male MC] would speak Chinese and she would speak English — that was really, really good.”
Ms. Cranfield recounted all the aspects again with great enthusiasm, and concluded that there was too much to sum up in an interview.
“There are too many things to say, but oh my goodness, it was great and I am definitely coming back next year, and bringing more people.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Nataly Teplitsky
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.