Audience members started the new year by attending a Shen Yun performance. They praised the artists for their professionalism at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.
Lorna Wighton Gosvener, a former gold medalist and Winter Olympics participant, says she can relate to all the time and effort put into the performance. She has been dancing on ice for 56 years.
“As a dancer, I love to see the movement as well as all of the dancing,” said Gosvener. “It’s a little bit easier for us to glide because we have the blades and so to watch people without that glide, it’s much more difficult and the athleticism of these performers was just outstanding. It was beautiful.”
“I think one of the biggest challenges is to keep up the freshness in a show that they perform so many times all around,” she said. “I’ve toured with shows before and that’s one of the most difficult things is to keep up all that freshness and impeccable choreography and the unison is one of the hardest things—and they have to work on that all the time.”
The artists spend half the year touring giving performances, and the other half preparing for next year’s program. There are currently seven equally large companies touring the world simultaneously.
“The music, and the dancers, the narration, the history. I learned so much from the history just coming today,” said Marty Papagni, financial director at Brereton Architects.
“I really like the fact that they talk about the culture and there’s a story behind all of the dancing. So I really like the cultural aspect of it. Very nice,” said Roosevelt Barros, Director at PwC.
Audience members talked about why it’s important to remember the past.
“For none of us to forget, our children. To make sure that each and every one of us remembers what brought us here today. And it is the history; it’s so rich in culture, spirituality as well,” said Papagni.
“Just a self-awareness of not just what the culture used to have, but the challenges of today. As far as making sure that it can come out,” said Barros.
Under Communist rule, much of the traditional culture was lost. And since Shen Yun aims to revive the culture on stage, the performance cannot be seen in China.
“I feel we are so fortunate here in the United States and other places that we can see that kind of performance. And they’re really missing out on a lot if they don’t get to see that as we do,” said Gosvener.
“It just brings back such wonderful traditions that all of us have forgotten because of modernization, and we need to go back. We need to remember when it was that many thousands of years ago,” said Papagni. “More love and compassion for mankind. And I think we can bring to that for every single person who sees that today. I hope they take that away from them.”