Los Angeles, California: Amid Thunderous Applause Shen Yun Celebrates the Spirit of Traditional Chinese Culture (Photos)

(Minghui.org) The world renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts concluded eleven sold-out, stellar performances at three venues in the greater Los Angeles area on January 18-27, 2013. The venues included the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center; the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, and the Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts in Thousand Oaks.

“Everyone In the World” Should See Shen Yun, Says Art Collectors

Mr. and Mrs. Mathews were thrilled with Shen Yun Performing Arts’ evening performance on Jan. 19 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)

Captivated by the Shen Yun performance, Dr. William Mathews, a collector of art, said, “This far exceeded our expectations; probably the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen on stage!”

Dr. Mathews, who was accompanied by his wife Irene, said that they are both avid collectors of art and art benefactors.

They were clearly thrilled by Shen Yun. “I’d do anything to see it again,” said Dr. Mathews. “Everybody should see something this exciting.”

Dr. Mathews said that Shen Yun was “just beautifully done,” adding, “and I could feel the movements, and after a period of time, you could almost learn what some of the movements meant. It was a really inspirational performance.”

The grace of the dancers’ hand movements touched him. “It was just so inspirational and peaceful to see the hand movements,” he said.

Mrs. Mathews agreed with her husband, “Beautifully put together,” she said. “I don’t see how they could do anything more fantastic. So I agree with my husband, everyone in the world should see it, and I can’t wait to come back next year.”

Mrs. Mathews said that she was impressed with the way the backdrop was cleverly integrated with the performers and the live orchestra.

“I loved the way the backdrop was done, and it was fascinating how some of the people kind of disappeared into the air, in the background, and some of them came back, and then some of them just went away into the background.”

She said it was helpful to the overall effect of the show and beautifully done. “It just really did a great deal to enhance the program.”

With extensive experience as an art collector, museum developer, and museum trustee, Mrs. Mathews has developed a keen eye for detail and color combinations.

She also commented on how the tones of the colors in the backdrop reflected the tones of the dancers’ costumes.

“I think I notice it because I’ve been involved in the arts. I think you open your eyes more. I’m always looking for the colors, because I’m also an interior designer, and I notice color a lot, and I notice the colors in the show because some of the blues were strong—in the sky—some of them were muted, but they all create such a mood that puts the dancers in this landscape, which goes along with the mood,” she said.

She also noted how the colors of the costumes were in harmony with the scenery and background.

Mrs. Mathews appreciated the seamless integration of the dancers and the orchestra, saying that it conveyed a feeling of peace.

“It was beautiful, it was beautiful, because they were so graceful, the dancers were so graceful, and it fit in with the music so much that it flowed beautifully, and it just was a very serene event,” she concluded.

Global Business Owner: “Beautiful, Amazing, Phenomenal”

Gary Charlwood (C), with his wife and a student from Iran, enjoying Shen Yun Performing Arts in Costa Mesa. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Also enjoying the show was Gary Charlwood, owner of multinational real estate and travel companies, who brought his wife and his friend, Jourabchi, with him.

“Very colorful, very beautiful, extremely talented, and the physical condition of the dancers is amazing,” Mr. Charlwood exclaimed.

After listening to Shen Yun’s Symphony Orchestra, which blends classical Eastern instruments with classical Western instruments, Mr. Charlwood said, “The music was great—in perfect time with the dancing.”

Jourabchi, a medical student from Iran, totally enjoyed the show, too, saying, “I loved it. It’s amazing, and I loved the colors.

“I loved how the dancers were in sync with the orchestra. It’s an amazing performance. I really enjoyed it very much, and I really liked learning about the Chinese culture.”

Jourabchi said that he “really enjoyed the performance of the soprano singer with the pianist,” calling it “amazing.”

His wife, Mrs. Charlwood, said, “I loved it, amazing color, beautiful music—and so relaxing, too.”

Through the performing arts, China’s rich, cultural heritage is brought to life with historical and contemporary pieces, classical Chinese dance, ethnic traditional dances, and ancient folklore.

Mr. Charlwood also felt that Shen Yun helped him gain additional insight about the Chinese culture.

“Chinese mythology … it’s always fascinating,” Mrs. Charlwood agreed, “Yes, definitely.”

“We see China today as a modern colossus coming up, with just a huge history … 5,000 years of culture and history,” Mr. Charlwood explained. “I knew about it, but this show just makes it clear.”

The couple also enjoyed the precision and seamless synchronization of the backdrops with the dancers, saying, that the backdrops were “amazingly beautiful” and the technology was “phenomenal.”

Mr. Charlwood remarked about one of several dance sets that portrayed the story of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice.

“Also the going up to heaven—it was one of the Falun Gong scenes where they went up to heaven. It was very impressive,” he said.

Music Producer Frank Gari Falls in Love with Shen Yun

Frank Gari enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Fred Kavli Theatre on Jan. 23. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Another VIP audience member, acclaimed music producer and singer Frank Gari, described the show as, “Absolutely spectacular. Absolutely wonderful!” adding, “I’m so happy my wife brought me here tonight!”

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Gari was a popular singer and songwriter. After that period, he started writing jingles for television commercials and is now well-known for composing and producing music for the television industry. He has been awarded the prestigious Life Time Achievement award from the broadcast industry.

Mr. Gari said that he had not been to the theater for a long time. “It was just wonderful,” he said, of Shen Yun’s performance.

Mr. Gari noted how well the solo vocalists blended with the music, which he said was perfectly orchestrated, with beautiful melodies that are pleasing to the ear.

“The singers! The singers were magnificent,” he said. “The two sopranos were absolutely sensational.”

He also liked the two emcees who come out between numbers to explain the intricacies of the upcoming dance or song.

“I also like the touch of the two people on stage, in between each act,” he said. “It was wonderful, the storytelling.”

“I’ve loved Chinese culture ever since I was a little boy. I love the whole art of it. I love oriental food! I just love it all!” he exclaimed.

He highly recommended Shen Yun. “Everyone should come if they enjoy beautiful dancing. The music is great, the dancing is great, the costumes are great, the set design is great. I love it all!”

Shen Yun “Spectacular,” Says Rotary President

Bill Wishard attends the Shen Yun performance at the Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts, Jan. 22. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Business owner and president of Malibu Rotary Club, Bill Wishard, attended the sold out performance after reading the outstanding comments from well-known people on Shen Yun advertisements.

“I’m not that well known [as these people], but I definitely agree with them. It was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Mr. Wishard is no stranger to large scale productions, saying that he has dedicated most of his life to producing big public events for non-profit organizations.

“I spent two years on a team that produced the biggest event in the history of California—the 1984 Olympic Games,” he said.

Mr. Wishard was thrilled by Shen Yun’s presentation of ancient Chinese culture.

“It was spectacular,” he said. “It lived up to its advertising and promotion. It was spectacular. The thousands of years of culture and themes that came about. It was so well put together.”

Mr. Wishard especially enjoyed the spirituality, which he said was not too specific but strong.

“I don’t remember the [lyrics of the solo vocalists], but ‘coming from heaven,’ ‘waiting thousands of years to come from heaven and find … Fa on earth, and then go back to heaven.’ It was very good. Especially now, seeing that kind of spirit.”

Mr. Wishard was clearly impressed after seeing that Shen Yun was sold out and how big the production actually was.

“I was counting how many [performers] were on stage,” he said.

The Rotary Club president went on to describe all the features of Shen Yun that he could recall: “Mixing the singing and the dancing and the colors and the costumes and the silk flowing; the visual was spectacular, and the backdrops of beautiful scenery from China and tying in with the dancing with all the silk flowing and the visual.”

Shen Yun is “Needed Medicine,” Says Psychology Professor

Harold Burke saw depth in the music and dance of Shen Yun Performing Arts, staged at The Fred Kavli Theatre, on Jan. 23. (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)

Also in the audience was university professor Harold Burke, who said that Shen Yun “is very special. It’s a unique experience, very active. There is a beauty and elegance to this.”

“It is trying to capture the spirituality of traditional literature and art, and I think that is very beautiful,” he added.

“We are used to seeing the fast dancers, but I think the sheer flowing of the gowns, the flowing of the scarves is very special. I think we need more of that,” acknowledged Mr. Burke.

Mr. Burke specializes in graduate programs in psychopharmacology, clinical neuropsychology, and physiological psychology, at Pepperdine University in Malibu.

“I think this show is needed. I’m a doctor as I told you, and it’s almost needed medicine for a pretty wounded country in a lot of respects. So I respect what this company is doing. I respect it,” he said.

Mr. Burke continued. “The symbolism of wisdom, spirituality, suffering, reincarnation and trying to live a life that has meaning for helping the world, comes through in the whole show with a lot of quintessentially beautiful, flowing, aesthetic movements. I think that’s really important.”

He spoke of his late wife, saying, “She understood great Chinese literature and this kind of Chinese dancing and the 5,000 year old culture that China is…it’s important for all of us, a Westerner like me who has never been to China, to really grasp this kind of beauty that was seen in this show, and what it really means.

“This show is not about fear. It’s the opposite of that. It’s about trust, working hard, perseverance, endurance, eternity, and wisdom, and I think that’s a really important message, and I think that comes across.”

He said that he was able to see the spiritual depth in Shen Yun’s story dances and music.

“I think the meaning is the transcendent aspect of life. That if you’re focusing on eternity, focusing on trying to bring wisdom to the earth, focusing on trying to realize what you’re meant to do, or what your path in life is, and you’re trying to do something for the world and for other people. That came across in the very beginning. Beauty is an eternal, transcendental quality and I think the show did that,” he explained.

Mr. Burke played in the Santa Fe opera for about 15 years. He was also a professional French Horn musician for a number of years, and played the piano.

“So I love great art, I love the transcendence of music and dance and great culture. This comes across in the show. The flowing aspect is really important. I liked it very much.”

“I am used to strong singers, but they are quite special,” Mr. Burke said of the Shen Yun trio of vocalists.

Speaking about the Shen Yun’s orchestra, he said, “I like the live orchestra, because I am a traditionalist, and I think the performances should be done with a live orchestra. I like that.”

He also was taken by the traditional attire worn in the different performances, from emperors and generals to the everyday clothing of the many ethnic communities.

“The costumes were exquisite. … The blending with the scenery in the background was extremely clever. I thought the flowing was quite amazing.” Mr. Burke observed.

When asked if he would advise others to see the show, he replied, “I would recommend it to people to go see it and experience it. Just the sheer flow and the calmness that one feels.”

Shen Yun “Means So Much!” Says Academy Award-Winning Actress

Legendary actress Margaret O’Brien enjoyed her evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)

Legendary Hollywood actress, Margaret O’Brien, was also in the audience, accompanied by her manager, Mr. Malone. “It was so fabulous!” Ms. O’Brien remarked.

Ms. O’Brien was the youngest star to receive an Academy Award for Outstanding Juvenile Performer in 1944. She has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and numerous Lifetime Achievement Awards. Her career has covered not only film but also stage, Broadway shows, television, and radio.

She said that Shen Yun held a very special place in her heart. “It means so much! I can’t tell you how much! It was so fabulous. This is my birthday present, today’s my birthday. I wanted to see this show so much!”

Mr. Malone said that Ms. O’Brien had heard a lot of great things about New York-based Shen Yun: “She had been told so many times, from very wonderful performers, how great this [Shen Yun] was. We are so honored. She is honored to be here.”

“This is beautiful!” Ms. O’Brien said. “I was going to see it in Thousand Oaks, but they said I should see it here because the venue is bigger, and I’m so glad. It’s just wonderful. Oh, but it’s so wonderful, so wonderful. It’s just fabulous!”

Classical Chinese Dance

Having a trained, professional eye for the arts, Ms. O’Brien explained: “I know how difficult dancing is because I’ve been a dancer, my mother was a dancer, so I know what hard work it is. I love the dancing and precision. Elegant! Beautiful! It’s everything I thought it would be—just wonderful!”

“I don’t think people realize all the work that goes into dancing, and how much you have to love the dancing, and also the physical hazards that go with dancing. So I admire all of the young people that were in the show and do all of this wonderful dancing,” she said.

“It’s Just Wonderful”

Ms. O’Brien noted that not only is she a collector of Chinese art, but also a person who cherishes the ancient Chinese culture.

“It’s just wonderful. I think what’s so wonderful is that this show brings back the wonderful culture of China—the old culture.

“I think this is so marvelous and wonderful because I love the Chinese culture. The arts, paintings, statues, ceramics, and everything, is so important. I read all of the books on Chinese culture. This show has brought so much of it to me.

“We all have to know where we come from and what our beautiful music, dance, and way of life is. I admire all the people that bring this show because we don’t have enough of our old culture today, in all countries,” Ms. O’Brien said.

“She couldn’t wait to get here,” Mr. Malone said. “So many famous people, her friends, told her how wonderful it was—the precision, the colors—and it’s everything they said! This is marvelous.”

“Tell All the Young People”

Ms. O’Brien encouraged young people to experience Shen Yun’s revival of the ancient Chinese culture.

“I want to tell all the young people to make sure that they go and see this show because it brings back the beauty of the dance, the precision of the dance, and the culture of China.

“I’m going to tell my daughter to make sure she brings all her young friends to see the show because that’s very important today.”

“I admire all the producers and everybody that does this show and brings it here for us, for all to see, and for young people, especially, to see,” she added.

Everything “Woven Together Succinctly’ In Shen Yun, Says Film Director

Renowned Hollywood film director John Hillcoat and friend enjoyed Shen Yun at LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at Jan. 27. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Also in attendance was renowned Hollywood film director John Hillcoat, who said that he appreciated Shen Yun, especially how “the mythical stories, the colors, and the choreography are all woven together, succinctly.”

Mr. Hillcoat said that he enjoyed how Shen Yun is able to portray the essence of traditional Chinese culture. “The culture is beautiful. I like the simplicity of it all. It’s very gentle. I enjoy the stories in every setup.”

Born in Australia and raised in Canada, Mr. Hillcoat has enjoyed a long and successful career as film director, writer, and editor. His recent works include The Proposition (2005), The Road (2009), and Lawless (2012). The Proposition won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score, and Best Production Design.

Commenting on the Shen Yun Orchestra, Mr. Hillcoat said, “The music is lovely. I am surprised that the orchestra sounds very classical, in a Western classical sense.”

Senior VP Jokes: “Andrea Bocelli Should Be a Little Scared” of Shen Yun’s Vocalists

Christiano Castellini and Sara Jara were amazed by Shen Yun Performing Arts’ artists at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Sara Jara, who works in Media Advertising, was joined by Christiano Castellini, a Senior VP of investments in a wealth management business.

Ms. Jara described Shen Yun as “so beautiful: the colors, the dancing, the movement, the singing—words can’t express how beautiful it is.”

She added, “The costumes were gorgeous. The visual—everything was beautiful. The talent was amazing.”

“The whole show was artistic. Very artistic, and I like the sword dancing too,” Mr. Castellini enthused.

Ms. Jara said that one of the aspects of the show that she noticed most was “Hearing about all the different philosophies and the gods, and at the end, how Buddha was the divine mercy that came and intervened and stopped the violence and created peace. It just had a lot of beautiful principles.”

“The world would be at peace if we all lived according to these Chinese philosophies,” she continued.

Ms. Jara said that she felt serene while watching the show. “The music was very peaceful,” she said.

“Yeah, the whole show,” Mr. Castellini agreed. “It’s very artistic though. It was nice, nice.”

“I think I like the tenor opera singer the best, because I’m Italian and he was fabulous. He was very, very good,” Mr. Castellini said.

“I think Andrea Bocelli should be a little frightened; he should be a little scared of the Chinese opera singer! I don’t know what his name was, but he was very good. That’s why Andrea Bocelli should be very, very concerned about his career.”

Mr. Castellini thought that the singers’ lyrics were very insightful. “The lyrics to the opera were meaningful. They were very meaningful,” he said. “There was one particular phrase that struck me, that had to do with don’t get drowned in riches.”

He reiterated by saying, “Don’t get lost in riches or wealth. That’s a major theme that runs throughout the show.

“You have to appreciate the simple things in life. That’s one thing,” he added.

“The background—you can appreciate the Great Wall of China, and the simplicity of these beautiful dwellings, these beautiful buildings that were built. But they’re built in the pastures and the very simple places of China that aren’t polluted or don’t have all of the complications of a high society.”

Mr. Castellini also expressed the unique quality of Shen Yun. “It’s something that, when you want to learn about culture and experience different types of entertainment experiences, this is a different type of entertainment experience,” he said. “It’s worldly and it’s something that’s different from what you normally experience in America, on a regular basis. It’s unique in that way.”

Ms. Jara commented on the show’s presentation. “The fact that every season the shows are sold out, and the message definitely was clear, in terms of you never know until you sit in that seat—know what it really is about, so everyone has to come,” she said.

“I’m definitely going to recommend it to all my friends and family,” she concluded. “So it’s very, very educational, so I recommend it to everyone.”

Shen Yun’s Backdrops Spectacular, Says First Space Tourist Dennis Tito

The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito, said he was happy to be at the performance.

“I’m enjoying the performance,” he said. “I like the color and the dancing.”

Mr. Tito is best known for being the first space tourist to fund his own flight in April 2001. He is founder, CEO, and chairman of the board of Wilshire Associates, an international investment management company, according to its website.

Mr. Tito really enjoyed the animated backdrops and how the dancers would disappear from the stage then reappear as animated characters on the backdrop, then return to the stage.

“I thought that was spectacular,” he said, adding, that the orchestra and vocalists were very good, too.


CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts


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