WASHINGTON—World-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts held its first public show at the Kennedy Center Opera House in the capital city on Wednesday, eliciting a standing ovation, waves, and cheers from the audience.
Earlier in February, Shen Yun performed seven shows at the same venue, a place where American presidents enjoy performances. Due to public demand, the world touring company is back in town for a week to sprinkle a nice finish to Washingtonians’ summer.
Mr. Engozogo, a consultant at the World Bank Institute and a black belt in Karate, saw the show for the first time. He said that there were different emotions presented—sadness and joyfulness—which both he enjoyed.
“In terms of joyful moment, I will always remember the Tibetan dance … because the choreography was so intense,” he said. “The drums were also always joyful, powerful—you can feel the force.”
Mr. Engozogo, originally from Gabon, Africa, said that he would not forget the sad moments either, referring to “Heaven Awaits Us Despite Persecution,” a performance that depicts a father who practices the traditional spiritual discipline Falun Gong. He was illegally arrested and tortured to death by Chinese communist police, bringing enormous torment to the man's wife and daughter.
“My brother died from cancer, my oldest brother,” said Mr. Engozogo. “It was on 26th of November, and I understood the pain of this scene when the little girl was crying and the mom was without any hope. That was inside of me. It was just a universal scene. And I like the way the choreography was done.”
“It [Shen Yun] wasn’t Chinese, it wasn’t French, it wasn’t American, it wasn’t African—it was just a universal culture or a universal lesson.”
Most of Shen Yun's performances feature classical Chinese dance, a comprehensive dance system that was gradually enriched and systemized while being passed down through China’s 5,000 years of history. Also passed along were important values, such as determination, perseverance, and compassion—all of which have been compromised by communism.
Mr. Engozogo mentioned another sad moment in the show, a performance called “Dignity and Compassion,” where another female Falun Gong practitioner was illegally jailed, and a policeman had to make a choice between good and evil.
“My personal feeling is like the fact that he wasn’t able to completely kill her and stuff. Therefore, even when you are doing a bad thing, you always have time to stop it, and maybe you can even be pardoned,” he said.
“That is very important. They have a lot of lessons in terms of spiritual life and doing good things. I think it’s my main impression—anything you do good, the payoff will always be better. Maybe not now, but it would always be better.”
Shen Yun’s dance, live orchestra, and three dimensional backdrops have graced the stages of over 90 cities on five continents this year alone. A whole new set of programs will be introduced in 2010, which will be performed at the Kennedy Center from January 20 to 24, 2010.
Mr. Engozogo said that he will certainly recommend the show to others and will be back in January.
Shen Yun will stage five more shows in Washington, D.C. from August 27 to 30.
For more information please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org