Shen Yun a ‘Transporting Experience’, Says College Dean

February 26, 2015 6:40 pm Last Updated: February 26, 2015 7:28 pm

ESCONDIDO, Calif.—”It was spectacular,” said audience member David Pearson, dean of the Imperial Valley campus for San Diego State University, after attending Shen Yun Performing Arts at the California Center for the Arts on Sunday, Feb. 22.

“Really a transporting experience for about two hours,” he said.

Shen Yun is a non-profit performing arts company based in New York and established in 2006. Its goal is to revive the true, divinely-inspired culture of China through exceptional music and dance and share it with the world, according to the company website.

At the core of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance. A live orchestra with both Chinese and Western instruments accompanies the dances, and dazzling costumes, an interactive backdrop, and musical soloists round out the performance.

David Pearson, dean of the Imperial Valley campus for San Diego State University, and his wife, Paloma Pearson, a nurse, attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, Calif. on Feb. 22. (Courtesy NTD Television)
David Pearson, dean of the Imperial Valley campus for San Diego State University, and his wife, Paloma Pearson, a nurse, attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, Calif. on Feb. 22. (Courtesy NTD Television)

Mr. Pearson said he had never seen anything like Shen Yun. He thought the costumes were marvelous, and he loved the background projections, saying the colors merged “in lovely ways.”

Shen Yun’s backdrops are an extension of the stage, setting the scene and allowing the dancers to appear to do extraordinary feats from China’s ancient myths and legends, such as fly into the air or visit the bottom of the sea.

“The ability of the images on the screen to be able to transport the figures who then appeared on the stage—I’d never seen anything quite like that before,” he said. “So that was very, very interesting. Beautifully done.”

The soprano soloists were “terrific,” said Mr. Pearson, and the erhu solo was “absolutely superb.” The orchestra also impressed him, and its combination of Eastern and Western sounds was so smooth, he said it was practically imperceptible.

“I’m not even sure we saw that, because it was perfectly seamless,” he said.

Mr. Pearson also enjoyed the history woven into the Shen Yun performance, which showed significant events from Chinese history.

“Many of the events were cultural in nature, some involved warfare, some of it involved the day-to-day things of everyday life. It was extraordinarily interesting.”

Mr. Pearson said that, overall, he was overwhelmed with the visual imagery, but in a wonderful way. There was so much going on that his senses were transported.

“You have to go see it” is how he would recommend it to others . “It’s a must-see.”

Reporting by Jane Lin, NTD Television, and Sarah Le