ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Dr. Richard Merritt, a physician in private practice in Lakeland, Fla., his wife, Gwen, and her cousin traveled from Lakeland, 57 miles away, to see Shen Yun on April 27.
“It’s hard to imagine 5,000 years of history,” Dr. Merritt said. “It’s nice to see that in a musical [and] dance performance. The colors were great, the sound was great. The actors, if you will, were superb,” he said of the dancers, who perform mini-dramas through dance.
“We enjoyed it—a lot. We need to see more of that type of entertainment in the area,” he said.
“It was superb,” Mrs. Merritt said. “I just enjoyed every moment of it, but I was just sorry to see it end.”
Traditional Chinese Culture
Traditional Chinese culture is centered on belief in the divine and harmony between heaven and earth. “Entirely nonprofit, and independent of the Chinese regime, Shen Yun enjoys the artistic freedom of New York, enabling it to now bring these ancient traditions to the stage,” the Shen Yun website states.
Speaking of traditional Chinese culture and spirituality, Dr. Merritt said, “The total show was based upon that, I think, as you look back upon it, so, I enjoyed it tremendously.”
He said he liked the dances that told the story of Falun Gong, a traditional self-cultivation practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. He heard about Falun Gong when he studied traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
“I enjoyed those episodes,” he said. He was referring to the dances Divine Mercy and An Unexpected Encounter, which portray contemporary stories of good versus evil.
Dr. Merritt said he has known about the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong for a long time. “It’s something that needs to be brought forth, and this production did it very well,” he said.
The Shen Yun website states, “In 2006, a group of leading classical Chinese artists came together in New York with one wish: to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China and share it with the world.”
Mrs. Merritt said she would like to tell the artists, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“I think you can see, too, it’s compassion. It’s not a job. It’s compassion,” she said.
Her husband agreed. “I can see that they’ve devoted their whole lives to portraying their message, and they did an excellent job. We appreciated it,” he said. “I hope they come back.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company, one of Shen Yun’s three touring groups, performed at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg to a full house for all four performances. Its final engagements of the 2012–2013 season in Florida will be in West Palm Beach on April 29 and 30, in and Melbourne on May 2.
Reporting by Jada Jeung and Louise Rothman
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.