PHOENIX, Ariz.-Singer Tammy Ward was among the audience members mesmerized by Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company at the Orpheum Theatre on Feb. 15.
“This is what I envision Heaven to be. It is almost surreal. It’s so beautiful. It’s spiritual. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Ms. Ward said after the performance.
Watching the performance, she said Shen Yun brings peace to her heart and gives her a chance to dream.
Independent and non-profit, Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded by a group of overseas, leading Chinese artists in New York. Its mission is to revive China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture that has been all but lost under the current atheist communist regime in China.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning backdrop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Ms. Ward was inspired by the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture demonstrated throughout the performance. While most of the approximately 20 vignettes are composed of classical Chinese dance as well as ethnic and folk dance, three pieces include vocal soloists using the bel canto technique.
As each of the singers perform, song lyrics appear on the digital, state-of-the-art backdrop in both English and Chinese which, according to Shen Yun’s website, are “brimming with philosophical reflection.”
“I got the message loud and clear. The spiritual message is to be true to whatever higher power you believe in, and not to be swayed by all the negativity in the world,” she said.
As a singer, Ms. Ward had a particular appreciation for the talent the sopranos possessed. “They were phenomenal. Phenomenal. They have such emotion and vocal ability beyond anything I’ve heard. They are beautiful,” she said.
A Shen Yun performance includes dozens of male and female dancers, and with so many vignettes, audiences are treated to a wide variety of colorful, creative costumes.
Ms. Ward described the costumes in the performance as “ethereal” and “something you dream of.”
Shen Yun’s website explains that “traditional Chinese attire was inspired by the heavens—it is this special connection that made the historical Han clothing so multifaceted and rich in design.”
Ms. Ward said she wanted to thank Shen Yun’s performers for their gifts and their message. “I get it. I will come again,” she said.
Shen Yun ‘Ten Out of Ten’
“Oh my gosh! I am so amazed by the show. I was looking at it from every aspect as a performer myself. I am blown away – ten out of ten,” said Adrian Miramontes, after watching the Shen Yun performance.
Mr. Miramontes is a fusion dancer, specializing in the Popping Dance style. According to his website, he has won over 20 different dance competitions, and he has performed and taught dance in Europe and North America. He is also the founder of Ascension Body Movement, which provides health and wellness services.
He was intrigued by classical Chinese dance. “I love the female dancers. They were very beautiful, [and] very elegant in their movements – I love their elegance, their poise. It’s just so beautiful,” he said. He added that the male dancers were like warriors. “They had a lot of boldness in their movement. I just loved how they portrayed that warrior energy – very graceful; very awesome.”
Shen Yun’s website explains that classical Chinese dance is known for its incredible flips and spins and its gentle elegance. “It is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world.”
Accompanying the dances is a full, live orchestra, which delighted Mr. Miramontes. “It’s really amazing, because it helps bring the whole performance to life when you have live music there,” he said.
He was deeply touched by the erhu performance. “That almost made me cry,” he said. “It was so beautiful; so much emotion poured through that instrument.”
The erhu is a two-stringed instrument with four thousand years of history. Its timbre is said to be closest to the human voice and is, therefore, incredibly expressive, capable of depicting many emotions.
The performance took Mr. Miramontes on a journey of emotions – “from happy to sad to just raw passion,” he said.
“If you really want to learn about Chinese culture and really see a high-quality show, Shen Yun is the show to watch,” he said.
Shen Yun’s Orchestra ‘blew my mind’
Another performer in the audience Feb. 15 was Joshua Normandin, a musician.
“It’s impressive to say the least,” said Mr. Normandin after watching Shen Yun.
As a musician, he was amazed by the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra. “It blew my mind just the way that they were able to create the synergy between the different instruments,” he said.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it combines classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments, whereby the Western orchestra serves as the foundation, while the the traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
“The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization,” explains Shen Yun’s website.
Reporting by NTD Television and Thanh Le
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.