SAN JOSE, Calif.—The final performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company came to a close on a sunny Silicon Valley afternoon, and retired educator Gil Martinez was among those taking it all in on Sunday, April 10.
"Tremendous amount of talent, in terms of dancing. Of course the vocals are quality, quality vocals. But I especially like the dancing," Martinez commented, echoing the thoughts of people everywhere who have seen the show.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is made up of world-class dancers, choreographers, singers, and musicians from around the globe. Months of effort went into the creation of the show, and as the masters of ceremonies explained, each year there is an entirely new program.
The show also features a live orchestra composed of both classical Chinese and Western instruments. Martinez found it interesting that "everytime [the dancers] move, it flows with the music." The seamless coordination between the performers on stage, the live music, and the animated backdrops makes the audience feel as though they are part of the story.
In addition to retiring as Associate Superintendent of Instruction for Orange County, Martinez has led a colorful life. He served in the Korean War during the 1950s, ran a Venezuelan school system in the 1960s, was Bureau Chief at the State Department of Education in Sacramento, and even had a stint as a professional baseball player in Mexico as a young man.
Now he plays golf near his Pebble Beach home "eight days a week."
One element of the show that captured Martinez's attention was the long, colorful ribbons which are integrated into the dancers' handmade costumes.
"The enticement of the ribbons … It was very interesting. Enjoyed it very much," he said. "The ribbons to me signify movement, and the quality of the movement, because the human body can't perform as ribbons do, so they're so free-flowing and the dances kind of depict that free-flow."
Martinez also sent tickets to his two sons and their families in Sacramento. They attended last Wednesday’s performance and said that “it was just awesome, marvelous, great performance, and awe-inspiring.”
Reporting by Abraham Thompson and Dean Tsaggaris.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will next perform in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 13. For more information please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org