COSTA MESA, Calif.—Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomed New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts on the evening of April 12 with an enthusiastic full house. This is the first of the eight performances at the theater, and the 8th year in the venue.
Among the audience members were Mr. Tom Campbell, Professor of Law and Professor of Economics at Chapman University, and his wife Susanne Campbell.
At the conclusion of the performance, the couple was beaming with joy. “I enjoyed this very, very much. I enjoyed the beauty of the performance. It’s very, very uplifting and happy. So thank you!” said Mr. Campbell, to the company.
Mrs. Campbell agreed. “I loved it! It was just beautiful. I loved the dancing, … That’s very interesting. I see the origins of a lot of philosophy, from a very old culture, and I just felt very good.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Through this highly expressive art form, Shen Yun is able to present ancient legends, historical figures, and modern tales on the stages of many prestigious theaters around the world. The programs are inspired by 5,000 years of Chinese civilization which emphasizes the reverence of the divine and harmony among heaven, humans, and earth.
Messages of Independence and Freedom
Mrs. Campbell continued, “I loved the message. I think it’s very important that we all are able to think freely, and to practice our religion freely. It’s not right to force people into conformity. I felt good. It was very uplifting.”
“I enjoyed the message of independence and freedom to think,” added Mr. Campbell, who served as Dean of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, Dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and was on the faculties at Berkeley and at Stanford Law School. He is also a former five-term Republican U.S. Congressman and former member of the California State Senate.
He felt that the spirituality of the performance is very important and was glad to see it alive in China.
“I got a message of real spirituality, that we’re here temporarily, and …, and that we are here to perfect ourselves. I think that is very true.” Mrs. Campbell said.
An Exhilarating Experience
Mrs. Campbell, a retired artist, described her feelings when the curtain opened and exhilarating due to liveliness. And she appreciated the fact that although the dancers are professionals, they obviously also love what they are doing. “Everybody involved with this is happy with what they are doing. That’s great.”
Mrs. Campbell was the executive director of the St. Petersburg Program (School of Management in Russia) at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She has also been active in the leisure, travel and tourism business. Currently she is the owner of MonteVerde Ranch.
Mr. Campbell was very impressed with the erhu performance: “I think most impressive was the two-stringed Chinese instrument. That was beautiful, with the piano accompaniment. The music is very upbeat, very happy. Yes, there was no sadness in it. It was joyful.”
Both would highly recommend the show to their friends.
An Impactful Performance
Equally impressed and excited after watching the Shen Yun performance was Ms. Virginia Phoenix, a children’s book publisher and her friend Bruno Yanez, who moved to the United States a year ago from Peru.
“It was an amazing show. It was wonderful,” said Ms. Phoenix. “The technical aspect of it was amazing, the live orchestra was perfect. The dancing skills and the timing were phenomenal. Everyone was on point. Everything was above par. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It was very, very, very, very exciting to watch.”
Each Shen Yun show features classical Chinese dance stories, live orchestra accompaniment, and a digital backdrop with vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one.
Ms. Phoenix loved the effect of the backdrop. She said, “I was very surprised to see they have both the dancers as well as the screen integrated into it. There was such professionalism in the dancing, but the use of the screen added liveliness and sometimes humor to the story. It told a better aspect of the story, and I really enjoyed it. It added another dimension, like another world that they brought onto the stage.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the 5,000 years divinely inspired culture. “I thought the culture and the spirituality of the show was very impactful. It created a lot of emotion to the story. It’s more than just beautiful dance artistry, but having that history and culture intertwined created a lot of emotion.”
Shen Yun also features vocal music. The primary trait that distinguishes the singers of Shen Yun is their use of bel canto technique to sing Chinese text, which are original works brimming with philosophical reflection about human life.
Ms. Phoenix felt those were phenomena, and loved the erhu performance, a traditional Chinese instrument with a 4,000 year history.
“The show is very unique. You have to see it every year!” she said.
Reporting by Michael Ye and Sophia Fang
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.