SAN FRANCISCO—”It’s explosive! A lot of exploding silk and just explosive movements,” said performance artist and dance instructor Lois Wood, enthralled by Shen Yun Performing Arts. “Colorful, energetic, beautiful, spiritual, and very, very pleasant to watch and good for the soul.”
The Epoch Times caught up with Ms. Wood at Shen Yun’s 2012 debut performance at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House Tuesday, Jan. 3, part of the company’s world tour of over 100 cities. She attended the performance with her husband, Stephen.
“It’s so colorful and exciting, and each of the dancers—because I know a little bit about dance—they really are very well trained. You can see the beautiful lines in their bodies … I love the way that they work in groups and they make beautiful symmetrical patterns,” she said.
“I’m fascinated the way they interact with the cloth—the silk—the way they’re making all the fabric move. It’s almost like dancing, like the fabric itself is dancing.”
Each of Shen Yun’s literally hundreds of costumes are meticulously hand-made and “a result of artistic inspiration and careful polishing,” according the company’s website.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006, and has as its mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, which was in good part lost over the course of decades of communist rule in China. Classical Chinese dance, ethnic dance, and folk dance form the core of Shen Yun performances, which the company uses to transmit time-honored universal principles including benevolence, honor, sincerity, and wisdom.
“I’m thinking of my little ones. I have a little group of 7 and 8-year-old dancers and some of them are Chinese … these children would love to see this, because it’s beautiful … but it’s also part of their lives’ culture,” Ms. Wood said.
A dance instructor at Studio Rincon in Menlo Park, Ms. Wood has worked in the field of performance art for 26 years. When she’s not teaching or performing, Ms. Wood acts as the artistic director for the children’s recreational dance theater she founded. In addition to dance, she has studied pantomime, music, and has competed in figure skating at an international level.
“Also, the animation, their style of animation—where they come from the distance and all of a sudden an actual dancer appears—that’s very beautiful and unusual,” said Ms. Wood, of the way Shen Yun’s animated digital backdrop interacts with the dancers, creating a magical and immersive experience for the audience.
Ultimately, she said she was interested in learning traditional Chinese dance to add to her repertoire of performing art.
Speaking of the Fei Tian Academy where many of the Shen Yun dancers have trained, she said: “That would be a place that I would just love to [be]. It would be a new wonderland. I would be Alice, and that would be wonderland.”
Shen Yun will be in San Francisco until Jan. 8. New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org