ATLANTA—Jeffery and Eden Johnson, and their daughter Abigail, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Fox Theater on Jan. 9. Mr. Johnson is a software developer for Carters and Mrs. Johnson is a homemaker.
This was the Johnson’s first time seeing Shen Yun and their first time at the Fox Theater. “We got to come on a fluke,” Mrs. Johnson said. Her father got sick and he gave the tickets he bought six months ago to his daughter and her family.
“This is a rare opportunity for us, and we just loved it—absolutely loved it,” Mrs. Johnson said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun presents 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music.
“The music was just fantastic, the way it all blended—seamless,” Mrs. Johnson said.
According to Shen Yun’s website, the Shen Yun Orchestra blends a Western philharmonic orchestra which plays the foundation with traditional Chinese instruments which lead the melodies.
“It was beautiful, just very classic Chinese music. For me, I thought it was beautiful,” Mrs. Johnson said.
There was one male dancer that really stuck out to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. They found his name in the program book. Mrs. Johnson told her husband that he could be spotted in the whole crowd.
“He just has such a great smile,” she said, trying to find his name in the program book. “William,” Mr. Johnson said. William Li is an award winning principal dancer with Shen Yun International Company.
“He was just fantastic,” Mrs. Johnson said. She said that he “draws you in, in the crowd.”
The couple has four children and Mr. Johnson said that they don’t get out to events often. “We probably should [go] more often because I really had a chance to sort of emote, and I don’t get that—you don’t get that with any other type of entertainment, other than a live performance,” he said.
“The music is real and right there, and you feel it. You see the people and you see their grace,” Mr. Johnson said.
Mrs. Johnson was moved by “the dedication and talent of the musicians,” and Mr. Johnson felt the same way.
“Even during some of the dances, I would find myself watching, like—‘they’re great’,” Mrs. Johnson said.
“There are certain performers that just have that smile and that look about them that you wanted to watch them. You felt that they were generating emotions,” Mr. Johnson said.
“You could totally tell they loved what they did,” he said.
Mr. Johnson got a feel for the traditional Chinese culture. “I actually caught myself thinking: ‘Do we have anything in America like this, cultural like this? And we don’t. Yes, we do have culture, but it’s not like this,” he said.
According to Shen Yun’s website, ancient China was called the “Celestial Empire.”
“This not only refers to China’s strength and position as East Asia’s Middle Kingdom; it also captures a more profound meaning, describing a land where the divine and mortal once coexisted,” according to the company’s website.
“I think it’s something that in time can grow in America. But, you know, something beautiful that you can see, it’s very foreign and quite lovely,” Mr. Johnson said.
Reporting by Mary Silver and Kelly Ni.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The Shen Yun International Company will be in Fort Lauderdale from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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