Shen Yun a musical, terpsichorean and visual feast
By Eileen Wingard
SAN DIEGO–With creative inspiration drawn from traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun Performances presented a remarkable spectacle at the Civic Theatre last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The final show will be tonight. The gorgeous handmade costumes and the breathtaking digital animated backdrops enhanced the sumptuous visual feast. Silken sleeves, cloud-like fans, archers’ bows all contributed to the uniqueness of each segment.
The dancers were an outstanding collection of beautiful young men and women whose gracefulness, skill and dedication permeated their every move. The source of the choreography is Chinese classical, ethnic and folk dance. Lead dancer Michelle Ren, Yungchia Chen and Siya Yang were the choreographers for this program.
Set to original music, the dancers were accompanied by a 40-piece live orchestra under the direction of Ying Chen. The instrumentation included the Chinese erhu, the pipa, the bamboo flute and the Chinese gong, as well as the usual complement of Western instruments.
Some of the dances came from specific areas of China, a Miao Village, the Yi people, Tibet and Mongolia. Others were from historical periods such as the Drummers of the Tang Court, dating from the Tang Dynasty. Two of the dances told specific stories, Wu Song Battles the Tiger taken from a popular novel, and Splitting the Mountain, based on a beloved Chinese fairytale. The opening, The Emperor Ushers in a Glorious Age, and the finale, Buddha’s Teachings Spread Far and Wide, reflected Chinese religious beliefs. One piece, with the dancers in modern dress and the backdrop of a city of high rise buildings, showed the repression, still existent in China, toward practitioners of Falon Dafa, the practice to which most of the performers subscribe.
Also programmed were a performer on the two stringed, bowed erhu, Xiaochun Qi, and two vocalists, soprano Min Jiang and tenor Yuan Qu. All were accompanied by Peijong Hsieh at the piano. They provided welcome contrasts to the dance ensemble numbers.
Each section of the program was introduced by two charming masters of ceremony, Kelly Wen and Leeshai Lemish. They spoke both English and Chinese, with Wen doing most of the Chinese narration and Lemish, who has both Israeli and American citizenship, doing most of the English script.
This is a show not to be missed. For information, call: 888-973-7469
Wingard is a retired violinist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and a freelance writer
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