WASHINGTON, D.C.—What do a wedding photographer, a knitting professional, and a business consultant have in common?
They all lauded one particular aspect of Shen Yun’s artistic performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Feb. 20.
Richard Forde, a business consultant saw the art of Shen Yun as a reflection of the origin of man.
“It’s amazing, the colors, the action, it alerts all of the senses. You can see that mankind enjoys all of the things the creator gives to us. Look at the colors, look at the men and the women! Everyone is so good looking and handsome and energetic. And the art, I mean that shows we’re created, because evolution can’t give you art,” he said.
In its performances, Shen Yun seeks to showcase the true essence of China’s traditional culture, much of which has been lost under communist rule in China. For thousands of years Chinese people called their country “the divine land.” It was a time when Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianism flourished and were at the center of society.
“It is true you can see the beauty of creation in art, you can see the humanity, the relationship, the love that is shown to each other,” says Mr. Forde. “And then you can also see the sin side of us, where you can see that man turn against each other, hurt each other.”
The stories that Shen Yun depicts are set both in ancient as well as contemporary China. One such piece set in more recent times, called “Monks and the Red Guards,” takes place during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) which nearly wiped out China’s traditional culture in favor of communist and atheistic theories.
In the piece, communist red guards invade a Buddhist temple and fight with the monks only to be stopped by divine intervention.
Lauded wedding photographer Dotun Ayodeji evaluated the performance through the lens of his profession.
“I love the lighting, the lighting was fantastic. Everything was just wonderful. The colors,” he said. “As a photographer, it’s all about lighting. I was expecting just basic type lighting, but when I got in there, I was actually learning how to light theaters. I think the lighting brought the culture to life,” he said.
Shen Yun’s digital backdrop is one of the company’s hallmark features. “With state-of-the-art graphics technology, Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one,” reads the company’s website.
“These digital backdrop designs complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, color of the costumes, specific dance movements, props, lighting, the story being told, particular notes played by the orchestra, and special audio effects.”
For Lana Ford [not related to Richard Forde], her profession as a knitting teacher and yarn shop owner had her zero-in on Shen Yun’s colorful costumes.
“The costumes were absolutely amazing. This actually gave me an opportunity to experience the depth and the beauty of the culture,” she said.
Shen Yun’s beautiful costumes are one of the many aspects of the New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company’s performances that are cited and admired by audience members.
There is an incredible amount of talent, wisdom, and effort that goes into creating the costumes in a Shen Yun performance.
“Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of common people,” explains the Shen Yun website. “Every detail is given meticulous attention and is a result of artistic inspiration and careful polishing. The designers stress harmonic balance and contrast,” it says on the company’s website.
Reporting by Valentin Schmid
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.