SAN JOSE, Calif.—Kelly Leanos’ opportunity of seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts, at the Center for the Performing Arts in San Jose, was a surprise Christmas present from her husband. “It was a really, really great experience and I loved it,” she said.
Leanos works in architectural design and construction. As such, she appreciated the beauty, the history, and the costume designs that are a defining feature of a Shen Yun production.
“The vibrancy and the way that it was choreographed—tells a lot. It was very, very thoughtful, it was gorgeous. And I loved seeing the artists perform.”
Leanos loved the stories that were portrayed by Shen Yun’s dancers. “The Water Sleeves” dance which features the graceful ladies of the imperial court caught her attention.
“I just loved—the vibrancy and the way it flowed,” she said. “[The stories were] really, really fantastic.”
Shen Yun portrays China’s pre-communist era civilization. Its classical dance system is Chinese dance in its purest form with aesthetic features that have been passed down through generations. Each dance narrates a cherished story from the past that could be based on a historical event, exploits of a heroic character, or moral teachings.
“Yes, I really like the spiritual aspect. I loved the divine side very much,” Leanos added.
She was entranced by the mini-drama, “Three Hundred Years in One Day,” which tells of an old belief where two people with a predestined relationship will be magically brought together even if thousands of miles apart.
“[It] was really, really interesting to see how things from your past have come together into the future,” she said.
She was also amazed by Shen Yun’s digital projection that takes the audience right onto the stage in a seamless interaction.
“In the beginning, when I saw the screen and the way it interacted, I was like … okay, this is really interesting,” Leanos said.
Learning about Chinese history, of which she had no prior knowledge, also made the performance an educational experience.
Leanos was amazed to discover that in China it is forbidden to practice one’s faith.
“So to me, that [mini drama] was very, very important and impactful, and it makes us understand the [suffering] that China has experienced through not being able to follow your own beliefs. It’s an important story to share.”
Nina Lopez and her daughter were also in the audience. Lopez is an associated personnel analyst at California State Water Resources.
“I really liked the connection to the … roots of the tradition you know, the history,” said Lopez.
Lopez commented on how the male and female dancers showed equal strength. “They’re so synchronized in their …. performances—it is superb. I really admire the level of artistry.”
She spoke of the relevancy of the drama “Three Hundred Years in One Day.”
“You really need to pay attention and catch when current days are connecting to those ancient days.”
Lopez loved every single moment of the performance. “I liked the addition of the [soloists], especially [the erhu]. “I could not imagine that you [could] come out with so much melody from the two-stringed instrument [the erhu.]
“I was very excited that we actually could attend in person,” she said.
“I really liked [how] the dancers [had] no masks on because the facial performance adds a lot to it—all the feelings that they can express.”
Reporting by Linda Jiang, NTD Television, and Diane Cordemans.