COSTA MESA, Calif.—When those who have experience in the performing arts have a chance to attend Shen Yun, the results can be life-changing.
Former ballet dancer Danielle Castillo shed tears during several portions of Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Thursday evening, Jan. 29.
“Their skill level was unbelievable and above anything I could’ve expected,” she said. “It melts my heart, how great they were.”
According to Shen Yun’s website, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”
Danielle Castillo was born into a creative family, and she holds a warm place in her heart for the performing arts. Her mother was a ballet teacher at a young age, and her father is a fashion designer and former photographer.
“This is almost as creative as it gets,” she said of Shen Yun and its artists. “Putting your heart and soul onto the dance stage and working with everyone as a family. You can see how clear it is, that they really are a family up there. It’s just beautiful.”
“Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power,” states the Shen Yun website. “Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard for human conduct, moral concepts, mental state, one’s value system, and so on.”
Ms. Castillo was impressed with the live orchestra, saying it complemented the dances well, creating a more beautiful flow. She complimented the solo soprano singers on their great confidence and skill, and she enjoyed the unique, interactive backdrop, saying it almost felt like she was in a movie.
She recommended the show to dancers and non-dancers alike, saying she would definitely be back next year.
“It’s something you should experience at least once in your life,” she said. “It makes you smile, and you can’t really help but do that.”
“I can’t wait to see what they do next year, because this was unbelievable,” she went on. “I didn’t know what to expect and they blew me out of the water. It was amazing, overall. The music, everything coming together, just felt like perfection.”
Dr. Larisa Broyles Chacon and her mother-in-law Patricia Macias were also in the audience on Thursday and raved about the performance.
“It was phenomenal; beyond words,” said Ms. Macias. “I don’t know how to describe it.”
“It made me cry because it was so beautiful,” said Dr. Chacon. “It was very spiritually uplifting.”
Dr. Chacon is an associate professor of anthropology at Moreno Valley College and has served as co-chair of the college’s Diversity Committee. She has also worked on preservation projects in the local Native American community for almost ten years and is currently conducting research and interviews for a “We Are Birds” multimedia project she is co-producing with her documentary filmmaker husband.
Dr. Chacon’s grandmother was from Shanghai, and she said she’s always looking for ways to get in touch with that side of her culture. She appreciated the mission of Shen Yun, which is reviving the true, divinely inspired culture of China and sharing it with the world.
“Since ancient times, China has been known as the ‘Celestial Empire,'” says the Shen Yun website. “It refers to the belief that the divine, through various dynasties, transmitted a rich and abundant culture to the Chinese people. Chinese culture is thus known as ‘divinely inspired,’ and is the only culture in the world to have a continuous recorded history of 5,000 years.”
“I liked the message of trying to bring the truth back and getting back in touch with the spirituality,” said Dr. Chacon. “And trying to live with compassion, and finding that beauty and bringing that back out.”
Ms. Macias said the message she felt from the performance is that “the good will prevail.”
During the performance, Dr. Chacon learned that in ancient China, music was used as a way of healing.
“I think I definitely feel that tonight,” she said. “I think that we can all take a lesson from this, about looking inside and kind of finding that peace and finding ways to connect with each other.”
She said she will attend Shen Yun again, and she would also like to bring other people.
“I think that everybody needs to see it … I want my husband to come,” she said. “Next time we’ll bring Albert,” she said to her mother-in-law, laughing.
“Wo Ai Shen Yun,” added Dr. Chacon, meaning, “I love Shen Yun,” in Chinese.
Reporting by NTD TV, Michael Ye, and Sarah Le
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.