Shen Yun’s Depiction of Lost Chinese Traditions Resonates With Actress

May 5, 2019

HOLLYWOOD—Actress and producer Elena Talan came back to see Shen Yun Performing Arts for a second time after enjoying the experience two years ago. This time, she was once again captivated by the spirit of the musicians and dancers as they transported her into an ancient world.

“I love the colors. I love the music. I was in ballet when I was little, I’m really into dance. I really appreciate all the moves, like all dancing. I really [do],” Talan said.

Talan, who is also a business owner, saw Shen Yun at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, with her mother and friend during the evening performance on May 4. Through classical Chinese dance, music, and stories, audience members are able to journey through China’s 5,000 years of civilization and history.

The performance uses classical Chinese dance as its foundation but also incorporates folk and ethnic dance styles from various regions and minority groups. Talan, who has trained with top classical ballet instructors in Russia, said she really appreciated learning about this traditional dance style.

“They have a lot of hand positions, they have a lot of jumps, they have a lot of acrobatic stuff. But [the emcee] said it’s not acrobatics, it’s traditional Chinese jumps,” she said.

Talan is a talented performer herself. She started acting at age 10 in theater and is also trained in piano. She has appeared in videos for teen idols The Jonas Brothers and has featured opposite Miley Cyrus on Hannah Montana. She has also starred in HBO and Cinemax’s “Sin City Diaries” and various short film. She has also written her own short film, “Paper.”

‘Very Enlightening’

Talan said she came to see Shen Yun a second time because China’s nearly-lost culture really resonated with her.

She said, “I think it’s very beautiful. It resonates with me. That’s why I came the second time.”

Over the past several decades, China has experienced many movements aimed at eradicating 5,000 years of civilization and traditional culture. From cultural sites and temples to ancient relics and people’s beliefs, much of China’s history and spirit were destroyed after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power.

Seeing that genuine Chinese culture was at its brink of being wiped out, a group of overseas artists was determined to bring back everything that truly defined the Chinese people. This was how Shen Yun was born back in 2006 in New York.

Talan praised the company’s efforts in their mission, saying that “it brings a lot of Chinese heritage around the world [to] people who are not familiar with the culture.”

“It’s very refreshing for me to see that, to get familiar with that,” she said.

She added that through the mechanism of dance, performers are able to express many emotions and messages through their movements and actions.

“When you see dance like that … I think it’s very enlightening. People in all the countries can understand and relate to that,” she said.

Talan said she could see the spirituality in Chinese culture through the stories, especially the piece “Goodness in the Face of Evil,” which tells the story of a girl who was persecuted for her faith while living in communist China.

“When the girl with the book was put in prison, when they release her, there was a god figure in the sky. So it’s obvious that’s very spiritual. When you close your eyes, you meditate, you connect to the source,” she said, adding that the piece touched her heart.

“I come from Russia. I’m Russian myself. There was communism there. So I can relate to that,” she said.

‘Real, High-end Production’

Along with dance, Talan was also captivated by the live orchestra, which blends Eastern and Western classical instruments creating a unique but harmonious sound.

“I didn’t realize at the beginning that there was live music.  But then I saw the performance of the musicians, wow, it is so amazing, it like a real, high-end production, with real music, live performance. It’s great. All artists working together, musicians and dancers are in spirit,” Talan said.

“I just think that the music complements the dance so well, they worked together so well and they’re just in perfect harmony with each other,” she added.

With reporting by Jana Li.

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.

Hollywood, United States
Shen Yun International Company