ESCONDIDO, Calif.-“The level of artistry is really beyond anything that I’ve seen,” said Margie Oliver, praising Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing the company perform at the California Center for the Arts on Dec. 29.
Mrs. Oliver, principal of Garrison Elementary Performing Arts School in Oceanside, was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the Shen Yun production.
“The costuming was incredible, the coordination was incredible, and thinking about the coordination of having a dance company of this size on the road is an amazing accomplishment,” she said.
Shen Yun, based in New York, takes painstaking effort in their research of traditional Chinese culture, art and dance so that they can accurately fulfill their mission to preserve their rich, 5,000 year old culture, which has been nearly demolished by more than 60 years of communist rule in China.
“However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed,” states the Shen Yun website.
Through the company’s dedication to their “marvelous” culture, the performance was able to teach Mrs. Oliver how Chinese culture has impacted the world.
“I was most surprised about was to learn that the moves that we typically see in gymnastics and in figure skating really originated in Chinese dance, so this is new information,” she said. “It’s always fun to learn something new.”
Richard Oliver, her husband and an antique clock broker, agreed that the performance was very enjoyable: “The costumes, all the people, all the logistics. It was wonderful!”
Mr. Oliver continued to praise both the female and male dancers, saying, “I always think of dancing as being a traditionally female art—and yet, it was seamless, the change between the women’s performances and when the men would come on.”
“The same gracefulness, the same joy of dance was in both,” he added. “That was wonderful.” Mrs. Oliver chimed in: “Both are very graceful and athletic. Very accomplished.”
Shen Yun begins with a core of classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form “passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera,” according to its website. “Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.”
The dancers are adorned with handmade costumes and accompanied by tenors and sopranos, digital backdrops, and an orchestra that has a foundational Western philharmonic orchestra while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
Mr. Oliver said he loved how traditional instruments were being used.
The couple both said that the artists did a wonderful job telling the rich stories of Chinese lore. In traditional Chinese art, whether dancing, painting or other mediums, there is as much emphasis placed on the internal expression of the artist as the physical form itself, thus cultivating a deeply profound experience.
Reporting by Jane Yang, Cheryl Casati, and James White.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be in Escondido for performances at the California Center for the Arts through Dec. 31.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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