KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Mr. Richard Johnson, a retired U.S. Army officer, his wife, and their friend Mrs. Louretta Shaffer, were completely amazed with the beauty of Shen Yun Performing Arts. The three saw Shen Yun International Company on Feb. 12 at the Tennessee Theater.
Based in New York, Shen Yun presents 5,000 years of true Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music.
Mr. Johnson said that he has always had an affinity toward Chinese culture, but this was their first time experiencing classical Chinese dance. He has lived and travelled extensively in Asia and married a Korean lady. According to his wife, he is a historian and tremendously well read.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful it was,” Mrs. Johnson said. “What an experience.”
Mrs. Johnson, who is originally from South Korea, said she was very happy to experience Shen Yun, and the real Chinese culture. She said she had not known classical Chinese dance before.
Traditional Chinese culture is rooted with belief in the divine. According to Shen Yun’s website, real Chinese culture is known to be “divinely inspired.”
“Benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
However, due to 60 plus years of communist rule in the country, the ancient culture was nearly destroyed—notably during the Cultural Revolution.
Shen Yun was established in 2006 by a group of classical Chinese artists with the desire to revive the almost lost ancient Chinese culture.
Shen Yun’s digital backdrops astonished Mrs. Johnson. “The technique on the screen—oh my,” she said.
Mr. Johnson said the backdrops made the performance “that much more enjoyable.”
“The backdrops are magical windows to completely different realms,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
“It’s just beautiful,” Mrs. Johnson said. She said that Shen Yun definitely touched her.
“Very touching,” Mr. Johnson said.
Mrs. Shaffer admired the dedication of the Shen Yun artists. “How hard they must work,” she said.
Shen Yun’s world-class vocal soloists and the songs they sang almost left Mrs. Johnson speechless.
“The fundamental characteristic of Shen Yun Performing Arts vocal soloists, is their use of bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics,” according to the companies website.
The lyrics are displayed in English and Chinese on the digital backdrops. They are “brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and deep layers of meaning,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
“The words on the screen, I was just—that was lovely,” Mrs. Johnson said.
Mrs. Shaffer said she wants to tell the Shen Yun artists “thank you” and “keep going.” This was the first time Mrs. Shaffer saw the spiritual part of China, and she found the beauty of Shen Yun deeply inspiring and touching.
Reporting by Mary Silver and Kelly Ni.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun will give four shows in Nashville from Feb. 15-17. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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