When the Shen Yun extravaganza of Chinese dancing leaps into Southern California on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, lovers of traditional dance will rejoice.
Beginning their always-sold-out Los Angeles area run in Hollywood at the Dolby Theatre, the famed international dance troupe brings the pageantry, history and beauty of China to life in over two hours of spectacular performance.
The Shen Yun 2015 dancers in performance — Photo courtesy of Shen Yun 2015
The Shen Yun dance troupe was established in New York in 2006, with the goal of keeping traditional Chinese dance, song and storytelling alive. Those traditional artistic forms are a lost part of the Chinese culture on Mainland China since the advent of communism there – thus the need for this non-profit group to keep these ancient arts alive.
Shen Yun, which means "the beauty of divine beings dancing," mounts a completely new production every year. The act is anchored by the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, led by Conductor William Kuo and featuring the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese instrument. The orchestra members come from all five continents. All have a single goal: to create a musical experience that enhances the dance sequences and keeps the ancient sounds alive.
The beautiful Shen Yun 2015 dancers — Photo courtesy of Shen Yun 2015
To that end, composers Gao Yuan and Jing Xian create arrangements that employ the foundation of a full Western orchestra enhanced by the melodies of ancient Chinese music. But don't be surprised if you recognize an overture by Dvorak or a march by Berlioz, for the Shen Yun Orchestra utilizes both Western and Eastern musical forms to create a harmonious whole.
But Shen Yun is truly about the dancers, those lithe, gymnastic stars who combine flips, spins and elegant ballet and modern dance moves to create a stunning visual experience.
Principal dancers including Angelia Wang, Rocky Liao and Chelsea Cai and the rest of the massive dance company present vignettes that roam the expanse of the Chinese nation, offering up folk dances from Tibet, stories of the Mongolian plains and tales from the Forbidden Palace in the heart of Beijing.
This visual extravaganza of color, sound and movement has captured the world's imagination. With fans on every continent, Shen Yun tours the world, giving performances all across America, Europe and Asia.
Here in Southern California, tickets to the various shows around the Southland usually sell out. So whether you choose to go into Hollywood at the Dobly Theatre or to Northridge, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks or Long Beach, be sure to get your tickets well ahead of time.
The 2015 show hits Hollywood from Jan. 22 to 25; Northridge from Jan. 27 to 28; Costa Mesa from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1; Thousand Oaks from Feb. 3 to 5; and Long Beach from Feb. 7 to 8.