FRESNO, Calif.—As a former dance teacher at City College, Janice Jansen was struck by the technique and coordination of Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dancers.
“It’s spectacular, and it’s beautiful. The training is wonderful,” said Ms. Jansen when she attended Shen Yun Performing arts at Fresno’s William Saroyan Theatre on Jan. 16.
It was Ms. Jansen’s second time seeing Shen Yun. Her husband, accountant Bill Sivick, watched the performance with her and agreed that it was wonderful.
“The spirit is strong, and the commitment of the dancers just reaches across the stage and grabs your heart,” said Ms. Jansen.
Based in New York, Shen Yun has the mission of reviving 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history through dance and music. Each Shen Yun performance consists of world-class artists performing classical Chinese dance as well as Chinese ethnic and folk dances, accompanied by a live orchestra blending Eastern and Western musical traditions.
“You can tell the people are committed,” said Ms. Jansen. “By committed, I mean they’re not just up there because they have good technique and their bodies can do all the fancy tricks.”
Ms. Jansen felt the dance pieces depicted something bigger.
“The message is, the commitment of life is bigger than what we just see,” she said. “We need something more because there’s a bigger part of life – that’s where all of creation has come from.”
She understood that spirituality is not accepted by today’s Chinese communist regime.
According to Shen Yun’s website, at the heart of traditional Chinese culture is a belief in and respect for the divine. This cultural essence has nearly been destroyed in modern times by the atheist regime, but Shen Yun aims to keep these traditional values alive.
“In the dance here, there is the reaching back to those masters of thousands of years and imitating them, but yet there’s a new spirit in it,” said Ms. Jansen.
Ms. Jansen has long been fascinated by traditional Chinese art and culture. She was impressed by the colorful costume designs in Shen Yun, which come from the traditional attire of various dynasties and ethnic groups.
“The costuming is so beautiful. I don’t know how you people have done that,” she said.
“It’s so clever,” she added. “I always think of the practical things, like how did they have time to change their costumes and come out again?”
She was also amazed by Shen Yun’s digital projection. Shen Yun’s website explains, “With state-of-the-art graphics technology, Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one.”
In the first dance piece, “Salvation and Renewal,” the backdrop places the dancers in heaven, where the Creator calls on them to descend to Earth and begin creating Chinese history.
“It was so fun to see how they conveyed that,” said Jansen.
With the backdrop, she said, “you feel like you’re in various parts of the world and heaven as well, and it takes us out of the ordinary life into another realm. It was very exciting.”
Reporting by Alex Ma and Sally Appert
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.