(Minghui.org) Between Christmas and New Year, the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts continued its world tour with performances in Japan, Germany, and across the United States.
Chinese Nationals: “Authentically Displayed” Chinese Culture Through “Masterful Performance”
Shen Yun’s performances in San Jose were attended by a number of attendees who recently immigrated from China.
Mr. Liu and his mother Ms. Liu saw Shen Yun’s performance in San Jose on December 30.
“I felt very stunned. [Shen Yun] authentically displayed China’s several thousand years of culture here,” Mr. Liu said.
“There were different classics, famous stories. The costumes for every classic were very distinctive,” he said.
Mr. Liu came to see Shen Yun upon the recommendation of a friend. He knew that Shen Yun could not perform in China before he saw the performance.
“I wanted to come see it, because I hadn’t been in touch with it before. [Wanted to] watch it and broaden my horizon.
“Besides masterful performance, they also delivered some philosophical concepts. This is rarely seen even in other countries. A kind concept of heaven, earth, and mankind as one, and Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” Mr. Liu said.
Ms. Liu moved to the U.S. in 2017 through investment immigration. She said that she also liked Shen Yun very much, and had prior heard Epoch Times anchors introduce Shen Yun on YouTube.
“I myself really like classical Chinese culture. The program talked about Falun Gong practitioners (being subjected to forced organ harvesting). It was quite astonishing. I felt very sad seeing it,” she said.
Mr. Liu also added, “The performance talked about the two characters of ‘Shen Yun.’ ‘Yun’ is a bearing revealed by body language. ‘Shen’ stands for divine. So a representation of a kind of divine bearing… Basically Chinese civilisation talks about the harmonious coexistence of heaven, earth, and mankind. The idea of having to abide by traditions, harmony, and truth… The rule of abiding by nature.”
Ashley Xie, also a new immigrant from China, saw Shen Yun in San Jose on December 31.
“The singing and dance skills were very high… It makes me very proud. Traditional Chinese culture should and is worth being discovered by more people in the world,” Ms. Xie said.
“Right now, in mainland China or America, more and more people are becoming distant from traditional culture. It might be related to the ten-year catastrophe (the Cultural Revolution). It has formed a cultural chasm, and a lot of original Chinese culture was not passed on well… I think traditional culture is very important for us. It also has crucial significance for the continuation of Chinese culture,” she said.
Renowned author, analyst, and activist: “Very Spiritual” and “Very Healing”
Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat, renowned Cuban author, analyst, and activist, at the Shen Yun performance in Miami on December 31.
“I think it’s a fantastic show. I think it’s very spiritual. I think it’s very healing,” Mr. Gutiérrez-Boronat said.
“It showed me how Western, Eastern civilisations are unified in an idea of beauty, and the transcendence of beauty tied with truth and spirit.
“I feel a connection to higher power and higher truth, and I definitely felt that very peaceful connection here in the show,” he said.
Former Member of Congress and Ambassador: “Great to be Here Again”
Richard Swett, a former member of U.S. Congress and former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, saw Shen Yun again in Boston on December 28.
“I’ve seen the show in Washington; I’ve seen the show in New York; I’ve seen the show in Boston. It’s great to be here again,” said Mr. Swett, the CEO of Climate Prosperity Enterprise Solutions. He attended the performance with his wife Katrina.
Though he had seen Shen Yun many times, there was something special to be found each time.
“The story changes, they have different depictions, and it’s always enjoyable to see the new versions, and this has been really quite enjoyable,” Mr. Swett said.
“The dancers are marvelous, and the music is stunningly beautiful. And it’s just a joy to be at,” he said.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the beauty and goodness of China before communism. It’s a side people today may not be aware of, Mr. Swett explained.
“I think that this is the part of Chinese culture that many people don’t see, that many people just think of China as communist mainland China. They don’t see the spiritual aspects of it, they don’t see the beautiful classical dance… So I think that this is a depiction of the culture that needs to be understood by more people,” he said.
“You can tell by the full theatre that they enjoy it,” he said.
Producer: “Tremendously Moving, Very Enriching”
Joan Quinn Eastman, a producer and former broadcaster, saw Shen Yun in Boston on December 28. Ms. Eastman has 25 years experience in the media, and is known as a “connect worker.”
“How the spiritual messaging is universal to all beliefs, no matter what you believe… We’re all connected by spirit; we’re connected by love; we’re connected by faith. Faith is what distinguishes us from animals. It’s what establishes us. We’re actually spiritual beings having a human experience, and this is a way of elevating your spirit—seeing this magnificent show,” Ms. Eastman said.
She said the message she perceived was that “we are all connected, that we must have faith and rise above our fears, and stand fearlessly for what we believe in. And in this particular case, it’s the stand against Communism and stand for freedom. And it’s a message that the United States could really take to heart right now, and learn from what’s happened in China.”
“This is truly a gift that you’re sharing—magnificent performance. All of these young people are so extraordinary! They’re so athletic and skilled and precise in their expressions and their movements. So graceful, so beautiful, really really glad I made it,” she said.
“It was electric and we’re three rows back from the front so I could actually see the expressions of every one of the performers. I was able to study every one of them. It’s a magnificent troupe. And you can see that they work together with such precision and such skill. It’s a magnificent thing to behold. Is really is.
“The colors, the music, the synchronicity, the precision with which all the dancers move is truly phenomenal. The level of skill is astonishing, and it’s a wonderful example of how people can realise their potential.
“It’s such a gift for them to share their gift with us. The grace, the beauty, the music, the stories, the suffering, the persecution. It’s wonderful that you are keeping your culture alive and sharing it with the world because it is so enriching,” Ms. Eastman said.
Shen Yun was a show Ms. Eastman had wanted and waited to see for years, having heard recommendations from many, including Chinese nationals in America.
“I’m so happy that I finally did. I find it tremendously moving, very enriching… Culture actually causes your brain to work on a higher level and that’s one of the biggest reasons that it’s so important and valuable, so I really appreciate [Shen Yun] sharing [the] culture,” she said.
Musician: “Ocean of Beauty and Loveliness”
Musician Charles Gravenhorst saw Shen Yun in Boston on December 31. He was overwhelmed by the “ocean of beauty and loveliness.”
“I wept in the beginning… I’ve never had so much beauty coming at me in just one dose, and it just kept coming and coming,” Mr. Gravenhorst said.
“I have never felt that I got a better value from my entertainment dollar than today… In all my almost 70 years,… I was never more satisfied in the theater than being here today,” he said.
As a former tenor for the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Gravenhorst was amazed by the professionalism of the orchestra and the virtuoso vocalists who sang Chinese lyrics using the bel canto style.
“Just unparalleled… world-class… The soprano was just otherworldly… To hear her voice fill this wonderful theater with no microphone—it is just a wonder. It’s a miracle… And this is why we will come and fill the theater and pay what we pay,” he said.
Mr. Gravenhorst was equally impressed with Shen Yun’s ability to continuously integrate “the beauty of motion” and “the beauty of sound” while communicating their vision and maintaining “its energy and its vibrancy” throughout the program.
“The continuity from beginning to end was like a life being spun out before us, from birth to middle age to maturity: All of the richness of life being portrayed in sound.
“The marriage between the Western timbre and the Eastern temperament was just very touching for me… Rather than feeling this sense that you are viewing this exotic far away culture, you felt very close to it as a result… Like these were your brothers and sisters, and we are struggling for the same thing: We are struggling simply just to be free, to live as the Creator has made us to be,” he said.
Mr. Gravenhorst was also pleased with Shen Yun’s ability to effectively communicate a divine message through the arts.
“When we communicate that which is true, we are communicating the essence of God.
“There are a lot of organisations that try to communicate a message and they try to use the arts, and they do it in such a way that you are disappointed,” he said.
In regards to Shen Yun, however, he said, “It was a delight to see such excellence today.”
Senior Portfolio Manager: “Unforgettably Beautiful”
Ann and Pieter Heijboer from the Netherlands saw Shen Yun in Berlin on December 28.
“I’m very emotional. I’m amazed for traditional Chinese culture,” said Pieter, a senior portfolio manager.
Ann is the president of a Dutch company. She has been to China before.
“I very much love and appreciate this performance. Beautiful costumes and dancing. Unforgettably beautiful. I also liked each story in the performance,” she said.
Learning that Shen Yun artists all practice Falun Dafa and adhere to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, she said that she could feel the energy and pure compassion emitted by the performers.
Social Media Influencer: “The Essence of Elegance”
Social media personality Cameron Hamilton saw Shen Yun in Atlanta on December 26.
“It was just a great blessing to be here, to be able to experience it… You can just see when everyone came together—it was just a beautiful thing to see all this talent in one space,” Mr. Hamilton said.
“Everything from the dancing, to the musical orchestra, the solo acts—I mean I was blown away,” he said.
Mr. Hamilton, who works in artificial intelligence, and his wife Lauren are social media influencers. The two produce videos on YouTube, and each has over 2 million followers on Instagram.
After watching Shen Yun, Mr. Hamilton said he found inspiration from the performance.
“I’m sure we’ll incorporate some element of our experience here today going forward with our videos,” he said.
Mr. Hamilton said watching Shen Yun helped him learn more about what is happening in China today, as well as China’s rich culture. He also said watching the performance made him feel “at peace.”
“The biggest thing that came to mind while watching the show was elegance. It was really just the essence of elegance—watching the dancing, every movement was so fluid. I just felt very at peace watching the show,” he said.
Those who haven’t yet had the chance to see the performance “absolutely need to experience Shen Yun,” Mr. Hamilton added.
“It’s a unique performance experience, I don’t think you’ll find anything like it anywhere else. And I think if you want to learn more about the Chinese culture, it’s definitely the performance to see,” he said.
Engineer and Consultant: “It’s Just So Breathtaking to Watch”
Al Kinback, an engineer and consultant, saw Shen Yun in Houston on December 27.
Mr. Kinback felt a deep reverence for the deep tradition he said he saw in the show. To him, the breadth and depth of 5,000 years of divinely-inspired civilisation were phenomenal.
“You can’t even fathom how deep the culture is… [The mission of revival] is absolutely important. It is, and it has to be kept out there for people so that they can understand what was, what is, and what can be,” he said.
Mr. Kinback and his wife had seen a Shen Yun performance several years prior and wanted to attend again, but the pandemic prolonged their return by a couple of years.
“It’s beautiful. It’s just really just so extravagant… We’ve been here before and we just love Shen Yun. It’s just so breathtaking to watch… It’s really different from anything you can go see,” he said.
While watching this year’s performance, Mr. Kinback was struck by the mention of “truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance” in one of the vignettes. These are the three principles of the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, which many of the Shen Yun artists also follow.
“I’d like to know more about, not Shen Yun, but the actual Zhuan Falun,” Mr. Kinback said after the performance, referencing the main text of Falun Gong, which he determined to purchase. “I want to learn more about it.”
“Compassion,… that’s what it should be. People should be doing that. We’ve lost our way… We’re just all doing our own thing and we’ve lost our way as to what’s the right thing to do. Not everybody, obviously, it’s a generality. But it’s important to get back, so we can focus and concentrate on that,” he said.
Shen Yun continues its 2023 tour with upcoming performances in:
North Charleston, South Carolina, January 3
Gainesville, Florida, January 3–4
Berlin, Germany, January 4–7
Woking, United Kingdom, January 4–5
Hiroshima, Japan, January 3.
Chinese version available