Shen Yun’s Music ‘Lifts the Dancers as It Plays,’ Advertising Firm Owner Says

SAN DIEGO—Jerry Jamison heads a national advertising agency with Fortune 100 clients, and “in my profession, you want art to infuse the world.” And infuse the world it did the night Shen Yun Performing Arts debuted in San Diego, according to advertising firm owner Jerry Jamison, who attended the Jan. 24, 2020, performance at the San Diego Civic Theater.

“[Shen Yun] is a really good example of how you’re bringing culture into today’s environment. So it’s just spectacular,” said Jamison, who owns Jamison Advertising Group in San Diego. “It’s wonderful. … Wonderful. I’m enjoying every bit of the costumes, the color, the music. The staging is just spectacular.”

The creative professional had a wealth of insight into Shen Yun’s mission, which is to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture through highly-expressive art forms such as classical Chinese dance, original music for a live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments, and bel canto singers.

Jamison felt that because of the way Shen Yun shared its mission, “clearly, it’s rooted in culture. And I thought the ethnic dances and the various regional aspects, that was a surprise to me. I didn’t expect that, so that was a very pleasant surprise.”

“[The music], it’s sweeping. It’s spectacular, and that is so sweeping and I feel like it lifts the dancers as it plays, and that was probably a surprise,” he said.

The culture behind Shen Yun—traditional Chinese culture—holds a rich tradition of deeply spiritual beliefs and practices such as Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. To carry forward this lineage of authentic Chinese culture and display the civilization’s beliefs that have been passed down for millennia, Shen Yun depicts legends about heavenly beings and celestial realms on stage.

Jamison shared about how he welcomed and appreciated these themes in the performance.

“I love the spiritual element of everything [in Shen Yun]. I’m a Christian, and so that whole spiritual element is important to me, but to understand another culture and another path to God is a wonderful way to convey it—the combination of morality and ethics and the divine to the real-life situations of today, it’s a great combination.”

The real-life situations of today Jamison referred to are depicted in a few of Shen Yun’s many short dance pieces: scenes of persecution now taking place in China against people of faith. In these stories, the Creator or divine beings are depicted stepping in to reward and protect those who have wrongly suffered, who have defended innocent believers, and who have held fast to their faith despite life-threatening pressure. Shen Yun also depicts the ancient Chinese legend that the Creator will one day return to earth.

Jamison found this to be a parallel to his own way of thinking. “I think, especially what struck me the most is that we worship a Creator. A Creator that’s loving and full of life, and imbues us with something that’s beyond ourselves—the divine, the divine,” he said.

“Overall, I think the staging is just amazing. And I think it gives a depth to the entire performance, which adds so much more to it because the dancers are so much right in front of you and so alive, and so vibrant. But the depth that that brings, it makes you feel like you’re in China.

Clearly, [Shen Yun dancers] they’re very much alive, and they very much love what they do, and it comes across in their faces, and their whole body positioning, everything.
— Jerry Jamison

“Clearly, [Shen Yun dancers] they’re very much alive, and they very much love what they do, and it comes across in their faces, and their whole body positioning, everything. But they’re so fluid, they’re so natural. It’s just, well, you just can’t help but admire them.”

Jamison encouraged others to go see Shen Yun for themselves.

“I would say [to my friends and family] how enveloping of an experience it is, how complete it is, and that you just lose yourself in the performance, and that’s the best, to go to the theater and lose yourself in the performance. You feel transformed when you do that.”

With reporting by NTD Television and Brett Featherstone.

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