Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Classical Chinese dance in the City - Shen Yun

Shen YunWe finally saw Shen Yun at the War Memorial Opera House and it was good in a classical kind of way. It was a little over noon when Mijo and I finished running errands around the house on a crisp Saturday morning. Our home, including the backyard, was sparkling clean in just three hours! As a reward to ourselves, I bought two tickets to Shen Yun since we didn't have anything planned that night and it would be good to see something different. After a good lunch and a good nap, we got ready for the show. We had dinner at Arlequin Cafe which is our default restaurant in the Hayes Valley area of the city whenever we go to see an opera or ballet at the Opera house.

Shen Yun - Opera House lobbyHaving seen the Beijing Acrobats a couple of years ago, I had assumed that Shen Yun was going to be like that. Their advertisements also gave me an impression that Shen Yun is grand in terms of scale which made me expect more. The price of the tickets were on the expensive side too. Inside the venue, I noticed the orchestra below. Live symphony accompaniment? After a couple of dance performances and not seeing any acrobatic stunts plus the live orchestra playing, I realized that it was something totally different. Shen Yun is all about classical Chinese dances and classical music. The ripples and fluttering movements created by the water sleeves of the dancers' outfit were mesmerizing. I was impressed that the dancers were almost always sychronized. There were two emcees: one spoke English and the other one Chinese. I thought they created breaks and made the performances disjointed. I would have enjoyed it better had the dances were continuous. My favorites were the Sleeves of Silk dance, the performances by Tenor Tian Ge, the Joyful Little Monks dance, and the erhu performance by Xiaochun Qi.

Mijo didn't like it. He thought it was too slow and never peaked. I agree with him.  I enjoyed the show just because it is something different and it was the first time I've seen an all-classical Chinese dance.


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