LOS ANGELES—“Without words, the actors portrayed the feelings and emotions perfectly, and you didn’t even need words. It was all physically spelled out for you.” No interpretation was needed. The body language and movements told the stories, said Jonathan Arland of the classical Chinese dance he’d just seen.
The actor, artist, and real estate developer saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Microsoft Theater and couldn’t say enough good things about it.
Shen Yun specializes in using the singularly expressive dance form of classical Chinese dance—developed and enriched over time by each successive dynasty—to tell of China’s storied past, 5,000 years’ worth.
Every year, Shen Yun travels to over 100 cities, sharing the depth and beauty of traditional Chinese culture, with the aim of bringing a largely unknown culture, one on the brink of extinction, to audiences worldwide.
“I learned a lot,” Mr. Arland said on April 24.
Classical Chinese dance had developed as the softer expression of marital arts—keeping all of the warrior’s flips, leaps, and aerial moves, but elongating the movements to emphasize their beauty, according to Shen Yun’s website.
As the emcees explained, acrobatics emerged from classical Chinese dance, a fact that was new to Mr. Arland.
A dancer himself, he praised the dancers’ fluidity, and their acrobatic prowess. It actually made him miss dancing. “I was jealous that I wasn’t young enough to be able to go up there and do that again,” he said.
Other aspects of the production amazed him. “The timing was impeccable,” he said of the digitally animated backdrop that brought to life mountaintop vistas, the bottom of the sea, and celestial kingdoms.
The orchestra, which mixes Chinese instruments into a full Western orchestra, was perfect, he said, and he felt the baritone was splendid. Of soprano Haolan Geng, he said, “I was wondering if I held up a glass if she would break it—could break glass,” he said of the power of her voice.
The performance engaged him throughout, but some things he learned about China’s culture saddened him. A few of the 20 vignettes portrayed the persecution of people of faith in China today.
“It’s sad in this day age [that] it’s still going on,” he said. “Everybody should have the right to believe what they believe and not be suppressed or ostracized.”
Because the performance shed light on China’s culture, and he advised people not to miss it: “Definitely see it. It’s educational, I mean, the American people, American public could learn a lot from this.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski
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.