LONG BEACH, Calif.—”It’s such a wonderful performance. I really encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it, to at least some time in their life, see this performance,” said Jim Dear, mayor of Carson City, at the intermission of Shen Yun Performing Arts on Feb. 7 at the Terrace Theater.
“It’s an amazing performance that really inspires people because you see the story that’s being told of ancient legends and today’s current events are all shown in dance and song, and it’s really something that everyone in the world can relate to,” said Mayor Dear.
Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance and music, complemented by brilliant costumes and an animated backdrops, to bring to life China’s 5,000 years of culture—from the ancient past to today.
“The music is spectacular and the singing is really, really wonderful,” said the mayor.
The music of Shen Yun is special in two respects. Firstly, the Shen Yun Orchestra supports all the dance pieces, and combines instruments from the East and West to create a unique blend; and secondly, interspersed throughout the dance pieces are vocal pieces, sung in Chinese using the bel canto technique. The lyrics are projected on the backdrop in both English and Chinese.
“I really encourage people who haven’t had the opportunity to see this to come to one of the performances,” said Mayor Dear.
Mayor Dear also issued a proclamation from the City of Carson for Shen Yun’s Southern California tour.
Kathleen Staunton, the district director for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, also attended the Saturday performance, and had much to say about how it moved her.
“Heavenly; overwhelming; joyful; spiritual; fabulous experience,” she said describing with emphasis how she enjoyed the show. “I wish I were 40 years younger and I would dance with [Shen Yun].”
She connected deeply with the visual aspect of the show, the colors in particular: “Probably more than anything it’s the vibrancy of the colors, and the colors just bring the soul to life,” she said.
Shen Yun’s use of color comes through the costumes—which are unique to each dance, as well as the animated digital backdrops—which set the scene and complement each dance piece.
The Shen Yun website describes what goes into the costumes: “They use bright colors to tailor and recreate hundreds of new pieces each season. Every detail is given meticulous attention and is a result of artistic inspiration and careful polishing. The designers stress harmonic balance and contrast. Their objective is an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect.”
“It’s as if nature itself is just presented across the board and all of these spirit-like figures are just moving in concert with nature and music itself,” Ms. Staunton said. “It’s truly spiritual.”
“Doesn’t get any better than this,” she continued.
Ms. Staunton was also quite moved by the dancing, and the dedication it requires to reach the level of the Shen Yun dancers.
“The incredible training that the performers must engage in to bring a finite art to this, literally an acme of performance and athleticism and beauty,” she said, “I have no words to describe it, because I was a dancer and I know what goes into perfecting one’s art.”
Shen Yun dancers undergo rigorous training for half the year, and the other half is spent touring. The Shen Yun website explains some background on classical Chinese dance, the primary style of dance used in Shen Yun: “Classical Chinese dance is composed of three main parts: bearing, form, and technical skill. Other than complete training in the fundamentals, it also entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques. And so, alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.”
“The perfection brought to the entire form, the entire physical form—and I watched from the line—is perfect in all of the dancers. The posture and the footwork, some of the footwork is very intricate and there’s never a pause,” said Ms. Staunton.
The mission of Shen Yun, to revive China’s culture from the devastation brought to it by China’s current regime, also touched Ms. Staunton.
“It’s the courage that the entire group brings to all of us in telling us, in candor, what has motivated this fine performance, of what is truly Chinese and we are grateful,” she said.
“Shen Yun is the performance of a lifetime,” Ms. Staunton said, summing up her experience. “If you love the human expression of what is beautiful about life, presented in a most concise and perfected way, see Shen Yun.”
With reporting by Alice Su and Ben Bending
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.