BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—“It’s a full body experience”, said Amanda Hayes, after watching Shen Yun Performing Arts’ performance at the Rabobank Theater on April 28.
Similar to millions of Shen Yun fans around the globe, Ms. Hayes, an oil painter, who also works in the fashion industry, was captivated by its performance.
“You kind of drop everything, and you don’t feel anything, you don’t notice anything else, except for what you’re seeing. It’s a total body encapsulating, absolutely,” she said.
Through storytelling dance and music, New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to restore and share with the world China’s divinely inspired culture that has nearly been destroyed under communist rule.
Ms. Hayes was thoroughly delighted by the performance, which takes audiences on a journey throughout 5,000-year traditions and beliefs, replete with ancient myths, heroic legends, and modern stories of steadfast faith.
“It’s really innovative, in my opinion. I’ve never seen Chinese culture like this. I’ve never been exposed to it, so I find it new and refreshing. I’m absolutely enjoying it,” said Ms. Hayes.
What deeply touched her was the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture articulated in the lyrics of the songs sung by bel canto soloists. They sing all original works brimming with philosophical reflection about human life in Chinese.
“I’m so caught up in the music and the beauty that I’m seeing. It’s 100 percent full body. I’m just, I’m totally in it,” said Ms. Hayes.
“Seeing the show is an experience inside, not necessarily just something on the outside, an aesthetic thing, which it is. it’s something that you feel deeper inside, and it’s gorgeous. It’s wonderfully done,” said Ms. Hayes. “Spiritually … it takes over your whole body. It’s amazing.”
She was inspired and touched by seeing the divine appeared on stage through some vignettes. Particularly, the last vignette entitled “Hope for the Future” that is set in modern China, depicting spiritual believers being oppressed, but their steadfast faith is rewarded.
“Beauty and peace, and seeing the Buddha … In that last performance that I saw, with the Buddha, it’s just—it’s something inside. It’s deep. I loved it,” she said.
As a visual artist, Ms. Hayes was impressed by the colors of 400 original, handmade costumes.
“I love it. I absolutely love it … It’s beautiful absolutely,” she said. “Right now, in fashion, there are a lot of muted tones. But right here, it’s gorgeous, beautiful colors, and I’m totally enjoying just the mixture of colors, the flowing material. It’s wonderful absolutely.”
Ms. Hayes summarized her experience with Shen Yun: “I was seeing a well-choreographed, beautiful performance by [performers] who know what they’re doing, really know the culture. And it’s being brought to so many people that otherwise would never see something like this. It’s amazing. It’s an experience that everybody should at some point in their life see at least once.”
Shen Yun Inspiring and Spiritually Touching, Says Porcelain Artist
Porcelain artist Kathryn Chernabaeff who teaches porcelain painting, was accompanied by her daughter Katrina, medical transcriber, to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Rabobank on April 28.
“Beautiful dancing, beautiful costume,” said Ms. Chernabaeff, after watching the performance. “It is wonderful. It is inspiring.”
At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance. “Known for its incredible flips and spins and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” states Shen Yun’s website.
Both mother and daughter thoroughly enjoyed classical Chinese, ethnic and folk dance pieces, taking turn to recount some of their favorite pieces, and marveled at the synchronization of Shen Yun’s dancers.
In addition to the dance pieces, the sound of the erhu played by Xiaochun Qi delighted Ms. Chernabaeff. She said, “It goes from sorrow to happiness, to horses’ dance, all different moods that were in that piece.”
The two-stringed erhu, also known as the Chinese violin, is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Incredibly expressive, it is capable of conveying a wide range of deep emotions.
As many audience members have noted, apart from the dances, the costumes and the digital backdrop of Shen Yun are unique as well.
Ms. Chernabaeff thoroughly enjoyed and was inspired by the vibrant-colored costumes, and the color combination of the images created by the digital backdrop.
She said she would like to paint on her porcelain pieces something of the orient.
Ms. Chenabaeff felt connected to the spirituality articulated in the lyrics of the songs sung by bel canto soloists. She said although we all have different beliefs, practice different religions, but we all believe in the Creator.
“It was touching,” said Ms. Chenabaeff.
Reporting by NTD Television, Alex Lee and Thanh Le
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.