BERKELEY, Calif.—Youbert and Ashourbella Lazar were enchanted by the perfection of Shen Yun Performing Arts when they saw an evening performance at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on Jan. 31, 2020.
“That was amazing, amazing. The color, the music, the combination, the way that [the dancers] were all in the same size … that was amazing,” Ashourbella said.
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Its several touring companies travel the world each year with an all-new production of dance and live orchestral music.
Ashourbella, a pianist, enjoyed hearing Shen Yun’s unique orchestra that includes both Chinese and Western musical instruments.
“Oh, my goodness … the instruments [were] very nice,” she said.
In addition to dance pieces accompanied by the orchestra, Shen Yun also includes a few vocal and instrumental solos. Ashourbella said she applauded for the pianist who accompanied the soloists.
“The pianist was amazing. … She was very nice; she was playing very smooth,” Ashourbella said.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s authentic traditional culture, which placed great importance on values such as benevolence, wisdom, respect for heaven, and harmony with nature. Some of the dance pieces tell stories and legends from ancient China, and the company’s website explains that traditional aesthetics are used in the dancing and costumes.
Ashourbella felt that the culture expressed in Shen Yun is “related to all cultures.”
She also noticed during the performance that a young girl nearby, about 6 or 7 years old, was enjoying Shen Yun.
“She was all the time watching and paying attention to the program. So that means the program is alive,” Ashourbella said.
‘Everything Is Perfect’
Her husband, engineer Youbert Lazar, believes Shen Yun is “really powerful” and “very important to all different generations.”
He found Shen Yun to be perfect in everything, from the colors to the unique digital backdrop.
“It was a wonderful show,” he said. “[Colors], dancing, acting, music, singers—everything’s perfect. … They’re so organized.”
He enjoyed the vocal solos, which are sung using a traditional technique known as bel canto. He was also amazed by the soloist who played the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese instrument with a history of over 4,000 years.
“Everything is perfect,” he said. “I don’t see anything [where] something’s unusual, or something not right. Everything was good, smooth, and perfect.”
His wife agreed: “You cannot pinpoint anything [wrong]. Everything was amazing.”
Youbert said he has seen many shows in different places, and Shen Yun was “one of the best I saw in my life.”
With reporting by Mark Cao and Sally Appert.