SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—When professional musician Eric Iverson attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at The Granada Theatre on March 30, he was shocked to realize that the music was not pre-recorded, but was from a live orchestra.
“I was convinced that it was backing track,” he said. “It seems to be flawless. There’s not one step out of place, not one.”
With Iverson’s experience as a member of the band Soul Majestic, performing vocals and the melodica, he was not expecting such an intricate and challenging partnership between Shen Yun’s orchestra and the performance on stage.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “I think for me the the entirety of the show, it really blew me away, with the sequencing of the music and the vision of the video and the performance all together. In my line of work, a lot of people use in-ear monitors to keep on the beat and they listen to each other and their backing tracks, but this is all organic it seems like. And it’s pretty amazing.”
Founded in 2006 in New York, Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, with classical Chinese dance, a full orchestra with both Western and Chinese instruments, an interactive digital backdrop, colorful costumes, musical soloists, and bilingual emcees who introduce each vignette to the audience.
With six separate groups touring the globe with a brand-new program every year, many fans return to the performance multiple times.
An Artist’s Viewpoint
Iverson, who also creates graphic arts and web design, was impressed with the dedication that Shen Yun’s artists demonstrated during the performance.
“[They] are really dedicated to their performance and their art, and just a lot of passion,” he said.
He also appreciated being able to witness the deep history of traditional Chinese culture in California, even though it can not currently be seen within China.
“I think the ability to bring in music, tradition, dance, color, and story, it’s pretty beautiful to be able to bring that all together. I could see how it could be a spiritual experience for some,” he said. “You embody the spiritual being projected through every part of your body.”
One dance piece that particularly touched his heart was a piece showing the persecution of a Chinese woman for her faith in China, which he said he was not aware of before watching Shen Yun.
“That was pretty intense,” he said.
Iverson was originally given tickets to the performance from his mother-in-law, and he came with his wife and two children. However, he had not been sure what to expect.
“She came I think last year or the year before, and so she told us, ‘Oh, you’re gonna like it,'” he said.
Fortunately, he enjoyed the performance and was pleased with the skill level of the performers.
“I can see that dedication, that purity in all the performers, and I’m guessing that they probably have studied since they’re young children to be able to perform at this level,” he said. “It’s insane the amount of talent, and I said before, there’s no missteps, it’s just like every single one is on point. I haven’t seen any anything go wrong.”
Iverson said he would definitely recommend Shen Yun to others, and he summarized his experience, saying, “It’s vibrant, it’s educational, it’s entertaining, and beautiful.”
With reporting by Marie-Paul Baxiu.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.