Theater Director Finds Shen Yun ‘Amazing’ and ‘Fantastic’

April 6, 2014 7:30 am Last Updated: April 6, 2014 7:32 am

SEATTLE—“I thought the show was amazing,” said Ian Jamison, technical director of theater company Teatro ZinZanni. “I’m really impressed by the technical expertise of the dancers and the preciseness of the Eastern-Western music that’s played with it.”

He had just watched Shen Yun Performing Arts at Seattle’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, on April 5.

“The presentation is amazing,” continued Mr. Jamison. “The cinematography—the effects that were done—blended with the live performance is really fantastic.”

According to the company’s website, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”

Being a theatrical director for 16 years, Mr. Jamison was very alert to and impressed by Shen Yun’s technical production.

‘The technical part of it, the lighting and sound, it’s superb,” he said.

Mr. Jamison appreciated and enjoyed Shen Yun’s unique digital backdrops, which interact with the performers on stage.

“The integration of the live performance coming into the video I thought was done very well,” he said. “The timing of it was really fantastic. I thought that was really well done.”

“The backdrops are magical windows to completely different realms,” reads Shen Yun’s website. “From vast open grasslands in one dance to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilions in another; from dusty yellow battlegrounds to tropical beaches to Himalayan peaks to picturesque scenery of the Yellow River Delta—the digital projection infinitely expands and transforms the stage.”

Mr. Jamison admired Shen Yun’s portrayal of stories through classical Chinese dance and music, a language understood by everyone.

“The animation is great, very lyrical, and the stories told well through the animation as well as the live performance,” he said. “I thought that was a great combination of the two.”

He also appreciated the English- and Chinese-speaking emcees, who introduce and convey the historical significance of each vignette.

“I think the storytelling was well done in the dance, and I think it was great we had a little introduction by the commentators to give us a cultural perspective on what was being told,” said Mr. Jamison.

“I thought the commentators did a good job of setting us up for each one of the pieces to figure out what was happening in the piece, and that had some emotional context that led us to feel what was happening in the dance, and it was brought across really well.”

Although every year Shen Yun tours in over 20 countries and 100 cities with enormous success, it cannot perform in China, despite the fact that its mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

Mr. Jamison said that what impressed him the most was “the presentation of the cultural aspects of the difference between what the troupe is doing here and what they can’t do in China—that was really culturally interesting.”

What also stood out for Mr. Jamison was Shen Yun’s music. He said: “I have to say again … the orchestra, the music is really fascinating, really beautiful.”

Shen Yun’s website states: “Is it possible for the disparate sounds of East and West to find harmony? Many have tried and failed. But the ability to seamlessly blend these two systems to create one fresh, harmonious sound is what makes the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra unique.”

The combination of Chinese and Western instruments appealed to Mr. Jamison. He said: “I liked the blend of the orchestra from East to West. [It] was really well done. That there were features of the Chinese musicians brought up on stage, I thought that was a great thing for the Westerners to see. Just the blending of the music and the compositions were easy for the Western ear to hear and also very lyrical in their Chinese composition.”

Summing up his impressions from the performance, Mr. Jamison said: “I work in the performing arts, so I understand dance; stories through dances is what I do, so I loved it. I thought it was really well done.

“It’s visually spectacular and the music component of it is a great thing for anyone to hear, it’s beautifully done and well orchestrated, really professional.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Nataly Teplitsky

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.

The 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