Greater Los Angeles: Shen Yun Wins Rave Reviews in the "Creative Capital of the World"
(Minghui.org) Shen Yun Performing Arts stormed through the Greater Los Angeles Area with 16 sold-out performances March 11-30, 2014. In an area known as the “Creative Capital of the World,” the audiences in Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara were blown away by the beauty and perfection of Shen Yun. The cultural depth and spirituality also made a big impression on the spectators.
Venues where Shen Yun performed in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Clockwise from upper left corner: The Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa), Nokia Theatre (Los Angeles), Granada Theatre (Santa Barbara), and Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Film Director: Shen Yun “Moving in a Compelling Way”
Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis and his wife, Leslie Zemeckis, attended the opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Granada Theater in Santa Barbara on March 29. “I think it’s exciting and moving,” he said. “Moving in a compelling way. It makes you want to watch.
“It’s very interesting... It’s very colorful, very synchronized. It’s very good, and the story lines are very interesting,” he added.
Mr. Zemeckis is a celebrated director and producer with multiple Oscars to his credit. His list of film credits includes Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future series, and the Polar Express.
Avi Arad, chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment and chairman and CEO and founder of Marvel Studios, attended Shen Yun on March 22 at the Nokia Theater. He was delighted by the overall performance, “The totality, the background, dancing is very good, costumes are very different. It’s very enjoyable, interesting... It’s great. I think it’s really great."
Disney Legend Award Recipient: “Pure and Sweet”
Glen Keane, recipient of the Disney Legend award, enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Nokia Theater LA LIVE in Los Angeles on March 22.
“I really enjoy being able to look at another culture’s dance, and see things from a perspective that I’m not used to,” he said about the performance.
“It’s very pure and sweet. There is a childlike quality to it that I really, really enjoyed,” he said.
Mr. Keane was responsible for animating some of Disney’s most famous characters, such as Aladdin, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Ariel from the Little Mermaid. He was also the executive producer of Tangled.
“I think it’s very spiritual and beautiful and seeking our creator, and I found that refreshing and wonderful,” he said.
Mr. Keane also recommended the show “for the people who really want to see something fresh and very different and unique in the world.”
Transporting the Audience to Another World
For Allen Ruilova, a computer animation artist with some major Hollywood productions under his belt, watching Shen Yun Performing Arts was a “very nice escape.”
“It’s a very nice departure from reality,” he said, after watching the performance with his wife Lara at the Nokia Theatre on March 22.
“It’s lovely,” said Mr. Ruilova. “I liked it very much... It’s beautiful; choreography, costumes, it’s beautiful … costumes were amazing.”
Mr. Ruilova's film credit includes visual effects for Kung Fu Panda 2 and How to Train Your Dragon.
Actress: “Very Stimulating to the Mind and the Heart”
Coleen Zeiser, better known as American actress Coleen Gray, with many credits in movies, television, stage and radio spanning five decades, came with David Schecter, who founded and produces music for the Monstrous Movie Music record label, to see the sold-out performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks on March 20.
“Loved it,” said Ms. Zeiser. “It’s just wonderful, just an evening of beauty, in movement and sight and imagination. It’s lovely.”
“She tried to see this two years in a row, and it was sold out both times,” said Mr. Schecter. “So she wasn’t going to miss it this time.”
Mr. Schecter was incredibly impressed with Shen Yun’s orchestra, saying it was perfect.
“I’m a music producer, so the arrangements were fabulous,” he said. “The blend of East and West was gorgeous, and the conductor was marvelous.”
Ms. Zeiser said seeing Shen Yun inspired her to learn more about the history of China: “It makes one curious to delve into Chinese history,” she said. “It’s very stimulating to the mind as well as the heart, and it’s a wonderful thing to know that beauty is all universal.”
Three-time Emmy Award winning actress Jean Smart attended Shen Yun in Thousand Oaks with her daughter for a second year in a row, and, like last year, she said they enjoyed the performance greatly.
“We went last year in Los Angeles and she enjoyed it so very much,” Ms. Smart said about her five-year-old daughter. “We adopted her from China in 2009.”
“I very much wanted her to see it, and I so enjoyed it myself, so beautiful and spectacular.”
Ms. Smart said she enjoyed seeing China’s history and culture through the performance and praised the dancers for their skills.
“The discipline, the history, it’s just kind of overwhelming,” Ms. Smart said.
“And it was really important for [my daughter] to see this, and for me to see it with her.”
Ms. Smart explained that even though her daughter was sleepy and had to go to school the next day, she insisted that she wanted to stay to see the whole performance. “[At] the intermission I said we can go home now, she said ‘no no no, I want to see the whole thing.’… She wanted to see every bit of it, every bit of it. It was beautiful,” she explained.
Speaking from her background as an actress, Ms. Smart admired the discipline Shen Yun performers have and their ability to stage so many shows in different parts of the world.
“It’s kind of mind boggling. I was in Seattle, Washington, visiting my mother about three weeks ago, when I saw posters, billboards up there advertising the show,” she said. “It’s kind of incredible.”
Inspirational and Extraordinary Production
Investor Selim Zilkha attended Shen Yun Performing Arts’ final show at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with friend Mary Haley on March 23.
“We loved it,” said Mr. Zilkha, an accomplished entrepreneur. “I’m going to talk about it a great deal forever.”
Mr. Zilka said he’d never seen a performance quite like Shen Yun. “Never ever. And I’m quite old,” he said. “It’s a very good surprise.”
Both Mr. Zilkha and Ms. Haley agreed that Shen Yun is a must-see experience.
“I recommend the show to everyone,” said Mr. Zilkha. “From one to ten, [it’s a] ten!”
Renowned Chinese Artist Regards Shen Yun a Must-See
Accomplished poet, composer, painter, teacher, and writer Catherine Yi-yu Cho Woo brought six friends and family members to the added performance on March 30 after seeing the opening show in Costa Mesa. Dr. Woo was the first Asian American to serve on the National Council on the Arts. She has also been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as an Ambassador for the Arts.
“Great! I do not have enough words to express how touched I was,” she said with enthusiasm.
“So beautiful! It's a special kind of beauty. It has Chinese history and Chinese culture. It is not the kind that is old-fashioned. It is lively, so much energy!” She believed that the uniqueness of Shen Yun's beauty is hard to describe in words, that one has to experience it to understand it.
Dr. Woo is an acquaintance of the founder of The Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Henry Segerstrom. She said, “I am proud that Chinese people--and everyone else--can see just how beautiful our Chinese culture is."
Dr. Woo stressed several times that Shen Yun is a must-see.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is currently touring in Chicago, IL; Seattle, WA; and Brussels, Belgium. Later in the month, it will perform in Newark, NJ, April 11 and 12 and Philadelphia, PA, April 25 and 27. For more information on tickets and dates, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.