(Minghui.org) The 2022 New Year brought five touring companies of the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts to five cities across the U.S.: Costa Mesa and San Francisco in California; Milwaukee in Wisconsin; Raleigh in North Carolina and Jacksonville/Orange Park in Florida, dazzling audiences with inspirational tales from traditional Chinese culture.
“Enacting the Spirit of Recovery, Renewal, and Reawakening”
George Havach, former technical editor for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), saw Shen Yun with friends Millicent and Derek in San Francisco on January 3.
“Very much we need to become more concerned about each other, and the happiness that we can bring into each other’s lives, very significant,” Mr. Havach remarked after the performance.
“I think Shen Yun is doing that. It’s exemplifying; it’s animating; it’s enacting the spirit of recovery, of renewal, and of finally the reawakening of each other,” he said.
“The Real Spirit of China”
Matteo Cucchiara, the executive film producer for Cinema Island Productions, saw Shen Yun with Violeta, an actress and singer, in Orange Park, Florida, on January 2.
“It just lifts us up… We sort of float[ed] out of the [theatre],” Matteo said.
“You forget about all your problems and just enjoy. You know that there are other problems much bigger than yours and they’re being taken care of and everything is going to work out in the end. And then, you know, it’s a beautiful story,” he added.
The costumes were incredible, Matteo said. “The person who designed everything, the people behind the scenes have to be brought forward… because the beauty is just amazing.”
“I love it… everything. I can feel the spirits of all dancers and [the messages the dances are portraying],” Violeta said.
“Actually, I was in China many years ago… but I have never seen anything so beautiful like this,” she said.
Matteo agreed. “I also remember China from when I was young and… how different it was. It would be nice if they could go back to those traditions and the culture [brought] back. And the persecution [of the spiritual group Falun Gong] stopped,” he said.
“That’s very important and I think one of the things [Shen Yun] brings out is the real spirit of China. We don’t want to think about what’s going on over there and all of the bad publicity that China’s been getting. The people are wonderful and that’s the most important thing… [In Shen Yun, we see] the real people of China… the culture and how beautiful it really is,” he said.
Watching Shen Yun and its performers “makes me feel so good,” Violeta said.
“When I Walked Out of There, the Pain Was Not There”
Diane Richter saw Shen Yun on January 2 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she experienced for the first time in 49 years the disappearance of pain and stiffness in her body.
Ms. Richter is retired but works at a school as a caregiver “taking care of the little angels.”
“I came in with stiffness in my body and my neck, and I don’t know how to explain this but it’s gone. It’s like through the time of watching [Shen Yun], it actually released and it’s not painful right now,” Ms. Richter said.
“It was so inspiring and calming. You could tell that [the performers] were dancing from their heart,” she said.
Her chance to see Shen Yun came when her daughter bought her tickets for Christmas.
“I’ve been talking about wanting to see this for years. And I never dreamed that I would be able to come to see it. And I opened the present and there it was—the most beautiful gift you could ask for.
“And to sit in that chair and just forget any problems that I have, and watch the beautiful movements on stage was so relaxing that when I walked out of there, the pain was not there, the stiffness in the back was not there… It’s amazing,” she said.
“It was by the power of watching [the performers] and releasing… daily problems,” Ms. Richter said as the only way she could explain the disappearance of her pain.
Shen Yun is very educational and everyone should see it, she added.
“So I would encourage people—it’s not just entertaining, it’s learning… It’s not just dancing. Each segment has a story to tell, which was awesome,” she said.
“Audiences Around the World Can Appreciate”
John Hood, a writer, president of a charitable foundation, and tap dance teacher, saw Shen Yun in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 31.
Mr. Hood took notice of Shen Yun’s efforts to uphold tradition and expressed his support for their work.
“Tradition is really the sum total of the human experience. It’s what people have learned over the course of generations of time, proving certain kinds of practices or beliefs or values to be useful.
“There’s a famous writer that calls tradition the democracy of the dead. The idea being that people who’ve lived in the past were no less intelligent, no less wise, no less experienced than we are,” he said.
He also spoke about the tragedy of communism when it tries to change or eliminate tradition.
“What happens with communism, or other kinds of ideologies that try to sweep away tradition is essentially you’re throwing knowledge into the ocean. You’re just dumping it away… We always have a lot to learn from tradition, and when systems have fought, whether it be communism or fascism or other kinds of modern ideologies attempt to sweep away all of the wisdom of the past, it leaves everyone ignorant,” he said.
Mr. Hood described how the dances of New York-based Shen Yun infused traditional elements into their pieces.
“It’s very obvious that the different pieces that I’ve seen are influenced by traditional religious beliefs. You can see how the Daoists concepts, the Buddhist concepts, and the other kinds of traditions are interwoven into the story, and I think that’s something that audiences around the world can appreciate,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation for the live orchestra and the lively music of the production.
“I always like to see dance performances with live orchestras. It gives so much more meaning and power to a performance. What I particularly find interesting about this performance is the obvious mixture of Western instruments, Chinese instruments, Western musical style, Chinese musical style. It creates a sum that is greater than the parts.
“I’m a tap dance teacher, I’m particularly interested in rhythms, and I appreciate the music allowing these different ethnic and folk dances to illustrate different kinds of rhythms, and different kinds of patterns,” Mr. Hood added.
He also elaborated on the role that music plays in life as well as in the performance.
“Music can bring you to tears, music can make you laugh, music can make you feel, music can make you angry… You see a lot of that in this performance. You see a variety of different emotions. The piece that involves the modern-day story about the daughter of the surgeon. There’s some music in there that creates delight at the first part of the story, but later in the story it makes you angry,” he said.
Mr. Hood was also highly impressed by the dancers. As a tap dance teacher who also has experience in ballet, the difference that he saw in classical Chinese dance was fascinating to him.
“I’m just fascinated with the techniques. Some of it is similar to the Western ballet that I’ve studied in the past, and some of it is very different, particularly the arm movements. And so I just loved the performance,” he said.
“Such a Positive Energy”
Retail executive Johnnie Hernandez saw Shen Yun with a friend in Costa Mesa, California, on January 1.
To Mr. Hernandez, Shen Yun provides inspiration at a time that normal life has been disrupted by the pandemic and shutdowns.
“[Shen Yun] is about faith, it’s about inspiration, about coming together,” he said.
“It’s nice seeing people get out, and it shows you that people can go out, follow certain rules, and we can be safe and do social things again.
“They’re so talented. The colors are so beautiful, they’re so bright. The men and women were so stunning… The talent and all the things they have to remember, and all the moves, it’s just spectacular.
“You can’t help but feel good and be inspired by every single dance that they’re doing… It’s such a positive energy,” Mr. Hernandez said.
“A Great Message of Strength and Hope”
Patric Daly, an executive in the healthcare industry, saw Shen Yun with his wife Tina and daughter Reagan in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 1.
“It was a great message of strength and hope… It’s a fine line between being too critical, but actually showing the history. I think they did a nice job with that. Very good job,” Mr. Daly said.
“I think it shows a diverse culture, so it’s not only about order and discipline, but it’s about individuality in the different regions of the country, as well as an expression of their faith without persecution,” he said.
The Water Sleeves dance amazed Tina. “It just was very symbolic to water and movement, and it was amazing when they all work together, doing it all at the same time,” she said.
“How Beautiful the Country Really Is”
Jeff Pace, the owner of a business that sells architectural building products, and his wife saw Shen Yun in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 1.
“It’s beautiful… The costumes really draw out the story by the movements and the colors. And I love… the synchronicity with [the] background and the dancers appearing on stage. It timed perfectly. The music is beautiful,” Mrs. Pace said.
Mr. Pace agreed. “It’s beautiful. [Shen Yun] gives a history… of China and what happened compared to [today’s] communist China. So it’s a beautiful education.
“I think the traditions are still there—I think they are suppressed right now. I think [Shen Yun] lets everybody know how it used to be and how beautiful the country really is,” he said.
“I find it very, very, heartbreaking to find out that [Shen Yun] cannot perform in China. It is all about the Chinese culture but they can’t perform it in [China itself],” Mrs. Pace said, adding she was grateful that the American people have the freedom to see it.
“We also believe in a higher being,” Mr. Pace said. He said he believes that different cultures present different interpretations.
“I think [Shen Yun] is a beautiful representation of that [higher being],” he said.
Mrs. Pace felt that Shen Yun showed, despite mankind’s suffering, that God was able to bring about a greater good.
“If you don’t have a belief that there is something after this life, you lose your morals. You lose your caring for other people, you lose your caring for yourself. You take things for granted. Your appreciation for things is non-existent.
“I think people can become reckless in their decisions, thinking that there is no ownership to [their] actions. And to know that you are not alone, that God does not abandon you—he brings about a greater good,” Mrs. Pace said.
Shen Yun Arrives in Germany for Upcoming Europe Tour
Shen Yun’s 2022 Europe tour begins on January 7 in Cologne, Germany. On January 5, the Shen Yun Global Company arrived at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport and received a warm welcome from local fans.
Shen Yun continues its 2022 tour with upcoming performances in:
San Francisco, California, January 7–9
Miami, Florida, January 7–9
Baltimore, Maryland, January 7–9
Atlanta, Georgia, January 7–8
Austin, Texas, January 7–9
Cologne, Germany, January 7–11
For more information on tickets and dates, please visit https://shenyun.com.
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