COSTA MESA, Calif.—“I love it. It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” said Kathy Ferris while attending Shen Yun Performing Arts with Cesar Zunida at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on March 12.
Ms. Ferris is vice president, financial advisor, at multinational financial services company Morgan Stanley, and a director at the Arthritis National Research Foundation.
Mr. Zunida, who owns of tax preparation service, said that he was overwhelmingly busy during the tax season, but he felt the performance was “very relaxing.”
Independent and nonprofit, New York-based Shen Yun was established in 2006 by artists from around the world with the mission of reviving China’s divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture, which had nearly been completely destroyed by the current regime in China over the last several decades.
The Shen Yun website describes what audiences experience: “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.”
Ms. Ferris had high praises for every aspect of the performance.
“It’s fantastic. I love the music. I love the combination of the music. It’s really beautiful,” said Ms. Ferris. “It’s very emotional, it goes very well with the dancing.”
Music is an important component of Shen Yun, with each dance supported by the Shen Yun Orchestra. According to the website, “The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct senses of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.”
Another unique aspect of Shen Yun is the state-of-the-art digital backdrop that interacts with the dancers to create a full theatrical effect.
“I think it’s very effective, because the dancers have been incorporated so beautifully when they jump down and then they appear on the screen, or vice versa where they appear on the screen and then jump down. It’s very effective,” she said. “I like it a lot. The backgrounds are very beautiful. The gardens and everything are very nice.”
Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance and music to bring to life China’s divinely inspired culture, and each dance uses unique costumes. “Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s ‘Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers’ to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes; from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor,” explains the website.
Ms. Ferris marveled at the costumes, “They are amazing, absolutely amazing. I heard most of them are handmade; they’re fantastic. The colors, they flow so beautifully. The sleeves and the dresses, when they turn, it adds a lot to the dances. It accentuates their movements; I think it’s really beautiful.”
Ms. Ferris enjoyed the incorporation of chopsticks, sleeves, lanterns, etc. into the dances. “I love that. That’s really beautiful. I go a lot to different dance shows, and again I think the costumes and the sleeves just are so beautiful the way they accentuate the dance,” she explained. “It invokes different emotions; I think it can be very calming or very exciting when they do something very fast.”
A Shen Yun performance consists primarily of short dance pieces, portraying stories and aspects of Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance, as well as ethnic and folk dances.
It was difficult for Ms. Ferris to choose any particular piece she especially enjoyed, because “they are all so different. I liked all of them really. The one about the mother and daughter is very sad until the end it was nice,” she said. “It was very touching.”
Ms. Ferris was referring to the dance entitled The Steadfast Lotus, a dance piece that depicts the plight of practitioners of Falun Gong in their peaceful resistance to the modern-day persecution by the Chinese regime.
“I would definitely tell my friends and clients about it,” Ms. Ferris said. “Now that I’ve seen it, I think I can promote it more, and talk more about it.”
Reporting by Lu Rusong and Thanh Le
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