PASADENA, Calif—The warm, sunny California weather with cool breezes has made for a delightful evening in Pasadena. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company received a standing ovation from a warm-hearted audience appreciative of the message and beauty of ancient China's artistic traditions, presented at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on April 28.
Ms. Elizabeth Ontiveros, a clinical lab scientist, and Mr. T. Phuoc Tran, an IT project manager, were excited to talk about the show. Ms. Ontiveros said it was the first time she had seen Shen Yun, but added, “I tried to come last year, but I couldn’t. I think it was sold out, I couldn’t get any tickets.”
She was struck by the dance Plum Blossom, saying: “I loved it. It was beautiful. The costumes were awesome. … Oh my, it was so beautiful!" According to the program, the plum blossom is greatly loved by the Chinese people. Though small and delicate, it displays resilience amidst adversity, blooming even in snow.
The influence of Chinese culture has spread throughout South East Asia. Mr. Phuoc Tran said, “It’s a really good show. I come from Vietnam, so I can relate to the traditions.”
Shen Yun uses state-of-the-art backdrops making the grandeur of classical Chinese dance come alive. Ms. Ontiveros said, “That was so interesting, like computer animated, and they came out [of the background]. It was so cool, and then the people would show up [on stage]. Even the shadows matched. I was like, Wow! It’s very, very nice.
"And the music, the music was great, loved the music," she said about the Shen Yun New York Company Orchestra, which combines Western and Chinese instruments to produce a unique sound.
Ms. Ontiveros was also impressed by the vocalists. She said, “The last singer, she has a powerful voice. … Amazing! Very strong, powerful voice. Beautiful!
“I read the subtitles [of the songs], because I couldn’t really understand [Chinese]. The beautiful songs had a beautiful message.”
She was moved by the contemporary dance that displays the persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient mind-body practice that is still persecuted in China today.
“They get in trouble for reading a book?” she said. “I was about to cry. I was like, oh no, he died, but at the end, you know they came and they rescued him.”
Mr. Phuoc Tran interjected, “The heavens rescued him.”
Ms. Ontiveros learned that Shen Yun is not able to perform in China and was concerned that people in China were not allowed to see the show. “That’s terrible. It’s a beautiful show,” she said.
Mr. Phuoc Tran thinks understanding a country's culture is very important. He said, “It’s good for the other people to see how it is over there now, [and] the history of China.”
Reporting by Cheryl Casati and Robin Kemker.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform in Escondido, San Diego, at the California Center for the Arts, May 3-5, and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, May 6-8. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org