PORTLAND, Ore.— Shen Yun Performing Arts enchanted Darlene and Sam Chirman at the Keller Auditorium on opening night, Jan. 17. “We were very impressed with it—it was excellent”, said Mrs. Chirman, a restoration biologist and president of the Santa Barbara Audubon Society. She also runs a private company that organizes volunteers for restoration projects at environmental organizations.
Both Mrs. and Dr. Chirman, who is a retired physician, “enjoy giving [their] time, passions, and talents to organizations that preserve and restore the natural world,” according to the Nature Conservancy website. For 32 years, they have been members of The Nature Conservancy project that makes ‘a positive impact around the world in more than 35 countries, all 50 United States and your backyard’.
Mrs. Chirman said she liked ‘the variety of the dance styles.’ One of Shen Yun’s features is its story-based dances. The company presents ancient myths, heroes, contemporary stories, and celestial paradises.
Mrs. Chirman said she was particularly impressed by The Monkey King Thwarts the Evil Toad. The classic novel Journey to the West tells of a Tang Dynasty monk and his disciples—the Monkey King, Sand Monk, and Pigsy—on a quest for Buddhist scriptures. That dance portrays an episode in which “en route, a toad monster pounces on them, and the Monkey King beats it with his magic staff,” according to the program.
“The one with the frog and the rabbit was really impressive to me”, Mrs. Chirman said with a laugh. She liked “The integration of the dancers with the background.”
According to the Shen Yun website, “The deities in the Buddhist and Daoist pantheon, like the majestic realms where they reside, have distinct and rich imagery. Shen Yun’s projection depicts these heavenly paradises in all their splendor.”
Mrs. Chirman said it was very interesting to see the stories from the different centuries, ”the varying time periods and how they were presented in dance.”
“Whether set in the past or in contemporary China, every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated,” explains the company’s website.
“It was a lot of new information for me. It was very well done,” concluded Mrs. Chirman.
Reporting by Lauren Morency DePhillips 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.
The 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.