SAN FRANCISCO—Robert and Kristen Hunter bought tickets to Shen Yun Performing Arts for Christmas and found themselves deeply impressed on many levels seeing the performance at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, Jan. 10.
New York-based Shen Yun revives 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, and the two were no strangers to traditional Chinese culture.
“I’m very excited,” said Mrs. Hunter during intermission.
Mr. Hunter, who is a video producer, and Mrs. Hunter, a product manager, spent many years in dance and martial arts. The couple said they were very familiar with how the Chinese regime has suppressed the traditional culture, but were hopeful Shen Yun could one day be seen in China.
“It was devastating what the Chinese government is doing to the Chinese culture,” Mrs. Hunter said. As someone who studied kung fu, Mrs. Hunter said she knew all about how the government had tried to wipe out martial artists during the Cultural Revolution as well.
Traditional Chinese culture is deeply spiritual, and said to be inspired by the heavens. Shen Yun performs classical Chinese dance and ethnic and folk dances from China’s many ethnic minority groups, and the connection between heaven, earth, and humankind is present throughout the performance.
But seeing the stories and dances, Mrs. Hunter said, they were so innocent it seemed ridiculous the regime in China today is so adamantly suppressing the arts. Mrs. Hunter said the performance had shown folk stories, ancient legends, and windows into various dynasties.
The couple said they had enjoyed the stories, which were easy to follow even if someone was not familiar with characters like the Monkey King or Ne Zha.
“You get a feeling for what’s going on without necessarily understanding all the details,” Mrs. Hunter said.
Mr. Hunter also enjoyed the use of the digital backdrop.
The technique Shen Yun used with the animated backdrop was just a simple convention of coming through the frame, and coming out on stage, Mr. Hunter said, but it had been perfectly timed and choreographed to great effect.
“I love it,” Mr. Hunter said. “That was kind of brilliant.”
The artistry of the costumes and backdrop, combined with the traditional Chinese dance, had told various stories from history. Even in the contemporary pieces, where Shen Yun told stories bringing the traditional Chinese values up to the modern day, it could be considered social commentary, Mr. Hunter said, but they were not heavy handed.
“The real revival will come when [Shen Yun is] able to do this [in] China, that’s when we’ll know we have success,” Mr. Hunter said.
Reporting by Flora Qu and Catherine Yang
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.