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‘Avatar’ Production Designer Robert Stromberg Says Shen Yun “a terrific performance” and “so inspiring”

Posted by Author on July 12, 2010

By Leigh Smith, Epoch Times Staff, July 9, 2010 –

Emmy and Academy Award winner, Robert Stromberg. Robert also was the production designer for the movies 'Avatar' and 'Alice in Wonderland.' (The Epoch Times)

LOS ANGELES— Many celebrities attended the opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ summer West Coast tour at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in Los Angeles. It was the first of five performances there by the New York-based company.

Emmy and Academy Award winner Robert Stromberg, the production designer for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, was among them.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” he said. “It was so inspiring, I think I may have found some new ideas for the next Avatar.

“It was a very unique performance. It was tremendous to see the wide range of different types of performance art come together as one. It’s really beautiful to see that as one single performance,” he said.

As a highly accomplished visual artist, Mr. Stromberg praised “the color, the lights, and the movement.” “The performers were fantastic! I thought it was wonderful,” he added.

Shen Yun brings classical Chinese dance, spanning thousands of years of tradition, to the stage. Mr. Stromberg appreciated the quality and attention to detail. He said, “It’s obviously very poetic. The subtlety and attention to detail and synchronization is astounding.”

Shen Yun presents ancient legends, modern stories, and folkloric dances. Mr. Stromberg said, “It’s nice to finally see part of Chinese culture and understand the history.”

Mr. Stromberg said he was inspired by some of the dances: “I especially loved the dances where they synchronized the sounds as well with the costumes and what they’re wearing—the women with the silver and the men with the chopsticks. …

“The environments, the background, the use of color, the use of color and costume together—those types of things were very unique and inspirational,” he said.

‘A Wonderful Experience’

Shen Yun uses vibrant projected digital backdrops, which give the impression of three dimensions. Dancers seem to emerge from and return to the projected backdrops.

As a film professional, Mr. Stromberg felt the unique backdrops added to the performance: “It was an interesting use of an interactive element, which I think, as it develops it, could become a new art form in itself—a live performance mixed with digital projection and maybe 3-D eventually, who knows.

“Using those two techniques together, it would be almost like going to the theater and the movies at the same time,” he said.

Mr. Stromberg appreciated Shen Yun’s presentation of traditional Chinese culture: “Working as a designer myself, I have done a lot of research on China and the landscapes of China and how beautiful they are. Seeing a traditional performance with the authentic dance moves and authentic backgrounds—it all came together.

“What can I say? It was a terrific performance and a wonderful experience.”

Robert Stromberg won Emmy Awards and an Academy Award for his work as a special-and visual-effects artist.

During his time on Star Trek, Mr. Stromberg earned an Emmy Award. Since then, he has been nominated for and has won a number of Emmy Awards while working in television and film.

In 2010 he won, along with others, the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction for Avatar.

The Epochtimes

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