LONG BEACH, Calif.—When architect Jerry came to the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on the afternoon of May 7, he was admiring his own work as well as the artistry of Shen Yun Performing Arts. He designed parts of the theater complex where he and his wife are regular attendees.
Mr. Sherman and his wife Nancy are long-time fans of Shen Yun, having just attended their fifth performance. The New York-based classical Chinese dance and music group travels the world’s most prestigious theaters with the mission to revive the culture of China before the communist era.
“The first time we came, before we knew anything about it, we thought that the performers were from China, and didn’t realize it was a U.S. production,” recalled Mrs. Sherman. Shen Yun shares aspects of China’s spiritual traditions that are under attack by the atheist regime today.
“We’re both spiritual people. So we love this aspect of it,” added Mr. Sherman. “I came from immigrant parents that had to escape their country. So this is meaningful to me.” His parents lived in Shanghai for 10 years, which adds another level of significance to him.
He feels a sense of hope from the performance, and admires Shen Yun’s mission of cultural revival.
“I congratulate them. I really admire them for what they do, and I realize traveling around the country is not easy,” Mr. Sherman said. “And I think that brings a lot of hope to young kids in this country.”
Photographer Richard Thompson and his wife Joanne found in Shen Yun a rejuvenating experience as well as a technical feat.
“My background is photographics. So I was very impressed with the technology,” said Mr. Thompson, referring to the way the dancers interact with Shen Yun’s patented digital backdrop.
“And the discipline was just—I couldn’t imagine controlling that many issues all at one time. and doing it so well,” said Mr. Thompson, who does photography in the movie industry. “When I see something done that well, I am impressed.”
“It was fabulous,” added Mrs. Thomspon. “It was a spiritual experience.” She anticipated seeing Shen Yun and made a great effort to attend.
Shen Yun’s original orchestral compositions are an integral part of the Shen Yun experience, not only serving as the backbone of the stage action and being masterful expressions in their own right.
Mrs. Thompson’s impression of the music is that “life is better and can get better. And there’s more good things out there that we haven’t seen,” she said.
“We feel uplifted and optimistic,” added Mr. Thompson. “And I feel a little bit younger.”
Reporting by Linda Jiang and Alice Sun.