Shen Yun Performing Arts brought the classic traditions of ancient Chinese dance and music to Palm Desert on April 27, with two sold-out shows at the McCallum Theatre.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Elizabeth Stolper, a dancer. “Their grace and precision is wonderful to watch. It’s amazing. I love it.”
“I’m a violinist, so I could really appreciate all the fine symphony orchestra players,” said Sharon Stolper, a music teacher, “[I was thinking], ‘Yes, yes! A full orchestra rather than a track.’”
“[The dancing] looks extremely difficult. I’ve been trained in ballet, but this is a whole other level,” said Elizabeth. “It’s just beautiful to watch. The grace and even the strength behind the movement is incredible.”
“I was very impressed by not only the orchestra and the players, but the erhu [soloist]. I’ve actually taught my music students about that instrument. I’m glad to see that it’s actually used for this,” said Sharon.
China was known as the Divine Land where deities and mortals co-existed. For thousands of years, society was built upon principles from Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, and the culture was said to have come down from the heavens.
But during the 10-year cultural revolution, the communist party nearly took away the core values of traditional Chinese culture.
“I also really am enjoying the educational aspect about the various Chinese cultures, subcultures, and how they’re being persecuted and destroyed in China,” said Liz Ryan, a television assistant director. “So I think that’s a really important thing to be bringing out through the beauty of dance, which is an amazing feat to do that and still make the evening beautiful and enjoyable.”
“[Another] plus to this that I was not expecting at all, is some of the humor that was put into the dancing. It’s not all serious stories. You get to enjoy the humor of it, not just the beauty, not just the athleticism, not just the grace, but there are humorous aspects that everybody can enjoy, from young to older.”