SAN FRANCISCO—”It’s a wonderful experience,” said accounting manager Manuela Kolpin when she attended Shen Yun Performing Arts with her husband, a CFO, at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House on Jan. 8.
New York-based Shen Yun has toured the world for nine years with its renowned performance of classical Chinese dance, live orchestra, and timeless stories and legends from ancient China.
Ms. Kolpin enjoyed hearing the announcers introduce the stories or briefly talk about the cultural background at the beginning of each dance piece.
“I’m enjoying this performance a lot,” she said. “I’m learning a lot about the history of the Chinese and China.”
Her husband, Norm Kolpin, admired the way the stories go far back into ancient times. He said he was fascinated by “the interpretation of the old dynasties that you only read about in school.”
Classical Chinese dance has a history of thousands of years and is known for its expressiveness as well as difficult flips, spins, and leaps that appear effortless onstage.
“It’s a very enjoyable, colorful, upbeat, athletic dance program that you wouldn’t expect to see,” Mr. Kolpin said.
Another in the audience was also captivated with the dance, so much that it drew tears.
Retired director of a telephone company, Sara Aldrette, cried when the maidens with long trailing silken sleeves appeared on stage.
“It’s wonderful! It made me cry. I’ve been wanting to see this for so long. It’s magnificent,” she said. “Actually, everything is just really beautiful.”
Ms. Aldrette also resonated with the dance The Power of Compassion, a story of courage and compassion overcoming adversity.
“What I understand is there was a problem where the beliefs in China—that the communists are trying to stomp it out. At least that’s what I gathered from what I saw.”
According to the Shen Yun website, “Forcing atheism upon society, the Chinese Communist Party has for decades launched various campaigns—most notably the Cultural Revolution—to destroy not only cultural sites, temples, and relics, but also the Chinese people’s belief in virtue and faith in the divine … thereby extracting the heart and soul of traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun seeks to revive these virtues the world over.”
“Oh, and the colors—just out of this world,” Ms. Aldrette said about the costumes and the animated backdrops interacting between stage and screen.
“I like the digital background, I thought that was great—that was so cool, I’d never seen anything like that.”
“It’s beautiful, it’s just beautiful,” she said. “I’m feeling everything right now; it’s all very heartfelt.”
With reporting by Lily Yu, Sally Appert, Gary Wang, and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.