(Minghui.org) As part of its 2013 World Tour, Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company staged seven sold-out shows at the SHN Orpheum Theatre, a historic San Francisco, California, landmark, March 20-24. The New York-based group has performed every year in the city since 2007.
Olympic Gold Medalist Falls in Love with Shen Yun
Mark Henderson, former Olympic gold medalist, and his daughter
Shen Yun always attracts an enthusiastic crowd wherever it performs. This was especially true during its recent seven-show run in San Francisco.
Many VIPs and distinguished guests attended, one of them former Olympic gold medalist swimmer Mark Henderson, who is also a three-time world champion and five-time national swimmer.
“We loved it! We loved it! It’s very good. My daughter is five years old, so it’s perfect for her,” he enthused.
Mr. Henderson, who is the managing director at Janney Capital, a financial services firm, commented on the athleticism of the dancers. “They’re in very good shape,” he said, adding that he also “liked the synchronicity of the Chinese dancing.”
He praised the digitally animated backdrops, saying they were “beautiful.” He also liked how the backdrops brought together the “live and animated” aspects of the show.
About the first dance, “Descending to the World,” he said, “That showed a lot of creativity!”
Former Company VP: Shen Yun “Best Show I’ve Ever Seen”
Richard Wolfe, former VP at 20th Century Fox
Also in the audience was Richard Wolfe, former VP of technology at 20th Century Fox. He said Shen Yun was the “most amazing show” he had ever seen.
“Unbelievable. Best show I’ve ever seen. No question,” said Mr. Wolfe, who now owns a video-editing company in Los Angeles.
“I’m just totally impressed with the entire presentation. Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mr. Wolfe’s family owns the Columbus Dispatch in Columbus, Ohio, as well as CBS affiliate WBNS-TV and radio station WBNS-FM.
“I’ve seen a lot of shows, both in New York and in Hollywood. I worked in Hollywood for many years. I was vice-president of technology for 20th Century Fox, so I have a lot of experience in knowing what goes on the screen, but this is live and amazing.”
“This show is the most amazing show I have ever seen so far … I think it’s brilliantly artistic. Much more artistic than anything I have seen. I’m totally impressed with the skill of all of the performers and their knowledge of each scene.”
Mr. Wolfe commented on how difficult it is to put on such a large-scale event, saying that it “seems an impossible effort.”
He also enjoyed the effects of the digitally-animated backdrops, noting, “The synchronization of the photographic effects on the screen and the effects of the people on the stage is so perfect and so well done.
“I have never seen this technique before … Unbelievable. I’m just totally impressed.”
When asked if he would recommend the show to his friends, he replied, “I would say that if you miss this show, you miss the best show I have ever seen.”
TV and Film Producer Lauds Shen Yun
David Shea, TV and film producer
Also seated in the audience was TV and film producer David Shea, who said he was deeply touched by the Shen Yun stories.
“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful visual,” Mr. Shea lauded after coming out of the theater. “It’s enticing.”
“I loved the stories, I loved ['The Emperor Journeys to the Moon'] and I loved ['An Unexpected
Encounter'], it was bittersweet,” he said.
The dance “An Unexpected Encounter” tells the story of a father and daughter who are touring China. One day, they have a fateful encounter with the spiritual group Falun Dafa and realize that the group is being severely persecuted in China.
“You fly to the moon, and you have the flowers behind you, and it sort of seems like fantasy, but it’s all right here in your head and in your heart,” Mr. Shea said. “Ultimately, it’s all about love and mankind.”
Mr. Shea was particularly excited by the spiritual aspect of traditional Chinese culture, which Shen Yun brought to life on stage. “When you have the spiritual element, to me it takes you to a higher level,” he explained.
Seeing the performance made him feel at peace, “sort of like a meditation.”
Shen Yun is “a bit of everything in a way. There’s fantasy, there’s down to earth, and there’s sadness of real life. Like they said, you couldn’t, I guess, in China you don’t see this. So it hits home in certain areas,” Mr. Shea said.
With a background in film, the producer referred to Shen Yun's digital and animated backdrop as “a treat. I loved every time that they went to fly,” he said of the dancers’ seamless transitions from stage to screen.
“And I knew that they would go to the moon in that one. And I was waiting for it, and so they did. It took you on a journey.”
SF Bay Area Welcomes Shen Yun on Opening Night
The SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco
Another audience member, John Dutra, thought that Shen Yun was “Just absolutely excellent, spectacular, graceful … beyond extraordinary!”
Mr. Dutra, chairman of the board of a real estate investment company, described the show as
“Beautiful, incredibly entertaining, I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.”
He was taken by the “elegance of the dance and the story.” He said Shen Yun “has a profound message as well as being beautiful, glamorous, and appealing.
“I will most certainly recommend it to my friends,” said Mr. Dutra, who came out of the performance “with a sense of relaxation, a sense of just sheer enjoyment.”
A proclamation initiated by San Francisco supervisor, David Campos, said: “Shen Yun presents the universal values—dignity, compassion, inclusion, courage, loyalty … which are just so important and beneficial to modern society.
“Shen Yun touches millions of hearts deeply; provokes righteousness and conscience, enlightens wisdom and nourish souls.”
Proclamations were also issued by mayors from Oakland, Daly City, South San Francisco, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Novato, Piedmont, and Colma.
“We are excited to see the return of this magnificent company to San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said Santa Clara mayor Jamie Matthews in a proclamation.
“Shen Yun Performing Arts brings together some of the world’s foremost classically trained Chinese dancers, choreographers, musicians, and vocalists,” he said.
Vice Mayor of San Jose Madison Nguyen wrote in a statement: “Shen Yun has become the number one live performance sensation worldwide and has delighted, dazzled, and inspired audiences in over 100 cities on five continents.”
Shen Yun “Just a Delight,” Says Former Mayor
Art Agnos, former San Francisco mayor, and his wife, Sherry
Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos was thoroughly delighted by Shen Yun.
“The show was magnificent. We just absolutely delight in the acrobatic athleticism of the dancers and the wonderful colors and their various costumes. Just a delight to watch,” Mr. Agnos enthused.
He said that the show provided him an overall view of the different parts of China.
“It’s very special the way that they jump out of the screen and pop up right on the stage,” Mr. Agnos said. “The timing of that is very, very good.”
Shen Yun dancers perform mostly classical Chinese dance, along with ethnic and folk dances from the 50-plus minority groups in China.
“My Soul Was Thoroughly Cleansed,” Says Lady From China
The SHN Orpheum Theatre
Ms. Zhang said the performance was “amazingly beautiful,” adding, “My soul was thoroughly cleansed.”
She came all the way from Beijing to the United States just to see Shen Yun.
“Now, I am still absolutely stunned. This atmosphere, this scenery, there are no words to describe it,” she said. “It must have been the power of gods and Buddhas,for me to be feeling so amazed.”
Wiping away her tears, Ms. Zhang said, “The first program is so stunning. I truly feel that Buddha has arrived in our world.
“As for the Chinese people seeing this, they should take it as a warning,” she added. “Seeing their own culture, they should be enlightened. Equality and love should exist among people.”
She concluded, “I saw a CD of Shen Yun back in China. Now I have seen the performance in person. You could say that my long-awaited wish has come true.”