HOUSTON—Sculptor Nina Rodríguez-Castiñado had wanted to see Shen Yun Performing Arts for years, and was finally able to spend New Year’s Eve with family and friends at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts to see Shen Yun in Houston this year.
Both Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado, who is based in Belgium, and her sister, opera singer Naya Maria Rodríguez-Castiñado travel often, and always seem to miss the show at Lincoln Center in New York, they each said four days ago. On Dec. 28, the sisters rushed to buy the tickets when their mother, Mrs. Maria Rodríguez-Castiñado, mentioned Shen Yun was in town.
“I found it awesome, the performances. I love how everybody is like the wind, flowing back and forth,” said Mrs. Rodríguez-Castiñado. “I found it very spiritual, very inspiring.”
The New York-based company was established with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, and brings to life traditional values and art forms on stage. In covering the great expanse of China’s history, Shen Yun also touches upon the state of China today.
I really think that was courageous and done in a very creative manner. It’s very admirable.
—Sculptor Nina Rodríguez-Castiñado
Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado said she was touched and impressed with the dance An Unexpected Encounter, which brings to light the ongoing nonviolent resistance of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, which the communist party has persecuted since 1999.
“I really think that was courageous and done in a very creative manner. It’s very admirable,” said Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado.
Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado has had drawings and sculptures displayed in exhibitions throughout Belgium. Principles of compassion and truth are embedded in her work, reads her artist statement. Chinese traditional values places emphasis on the same values, as seen in An Unexpected Encounter.
Since the Cultural Revolution over 60 years ago, the traditional culture has “been all but completely demolished,” according to Shen Yun’s mission statement. The company has not been able to perform in China thus far.
“I was glad that they did it. It’s a very hard pill for many people to swallow but it’s the truth and I have a lot of respect for that, and that they did that,” said Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado.
Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado said she was glad it was brought up in a creative realm, and that people who aren’t aware of the issue will be moved to find out more.
“I think the more people that know about it the better, because it’s really something that has to stop. It really has to stop,” said Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado, of the persecution. “Everybody has to take part in making an effort for that to stop, so the more people who know about it the better.”
She applauded the artists for incorporating that contemporary history into the performance. “The more people who know about it the greater chances there are of getting it stopped,” said Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado. This way, the efforts of those who stood up will not have been in vain, Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado added.
Mrs. Rodríguez-Castiñado said she was touched by the perseverance shown in the dance.
“You see here, with all the trials and tribulations, with all the people, it’s not stopping them from letting them know that there is beauty on this earth,” said Mrs. Rodríguez-Castiñado. “And hopefully it puts people in a peaceful way.”
She admired both the beauty of the art and the meaning. “It’s very beautiful and you can tell they’re very dedicated. It’s very beautiful, spiritual, enlightening, awesome,” said Mrs. Rodríguez-Castiñado. “It puts me in another world, that says it can be done on this earth—peace, harmony, love.”
With reporting by Sunny Chen and Catherine Yang.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing in Houston through January 1. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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