By Ben Bendig, Epoch Times Staff, July 9, 2010 -
LOS ANGELES— Shen Yun Performing Arts opened its summer West Coast tour at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion tonight to an enthusiastic audience. The tour is featuring the best of Shen Yun’s last four seasons, with masterful classical Chinese dance and music.
A number of stars were seen at the red carpet opening of tonight’s show, including Priscilla Presley, Frank Stallone (brother of Sylvester Stallone) and his mother, along with many other actors and actresses.
At intermission Mike Manning, a star on MTV’s reality show Real World: DC, gave glowing praise for Shen Yun.
“I love it, so far, it’s a lot of fun,” says Mr. Manning.
“It makes me want to learn how to dance better, because you get into the stories,” he says.
“Somebody can tell a story, and it says one thing, but when you see it in a play, or a show, or a dance, it brings it to life.”
The dances in Shen Yun feature classical Chinese dance, a rich artistic form that draws on 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Along with ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive forms of dance in the world. Each piece in the show depicts an aspect of China’s ancient culture—be it stories from mythology, dances from different ethnic groups, or pieces that depict things happening in China today.
Supporting the dance is a full orchestra that features both Chinese and Western instruments.
“The music is just icing on the cake—it’s perfect, because you have the story being told, you have the dancers dancing, then you have the music bringing you into it,” says Mr. Manning.
Also part of the show are music pieces featuring operatic singers, as well as a solo instrumental performance of the Chinese erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument. The audience was particularly delighted with the erhu performance.
The show appeals on many levels, but part of it is China’s rich history. “I heard that this is 5,000 years of culture wrapped up in a few stories, and it’s great,” says Mr. Manning.
“Like I said, it makes me want to learn how to dance.”