DALLAS—Shen Yun Performing Arts brought 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture to life at the sold-out Winspear Opera House in Dallas on Jan. 2.
The New York-based company presents dynasties of traditional arts and stories through classical Chinese dance, a stunning animated backdrop, bel canto-style vocal soloists, and a unique orchestra of Eastern and Western instruments.
“After more than 60 years of communist rule in China, and especially after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese traditional culture has been all but completely demolished,” reads Shen Yun’s mission statement. “However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed.”
Sisters Domonique Mettler, a healthcare consultant, and Francoise Saurage, a project manager for a software company, received tickets to Shen Yun as a gift from their father.
“It was wonderful, the costumes were great, the music was great,” Ms. Mettler said.
“I really liked the interplay between the opera and the dance,” Ms. Saurage added, “and then the play through the history up into contemporary times.”
Ms. Saurage enjoyed the blend of social, cultural, and historic elements in the performance.
“It gives a really powerful statement,” she said of Shen Yun’s bringing to light the persecution of spiritual faiths in China today. “I thought it was interesting because they’re clearly pointing to the controversial, sort of socio-religious, persecution that is really prevalent in Chinese culture, saying that Shen Yun can’t be performed in its own country.”
Since its inception in 2006, Shen Yun has yet to be performed in China.
“It’s embedded very gently,” Ms. Saurage added.
“There’s all these beautiful moments and you can see the glorious history of it; it’s very visual,” but the underlying matter of the persecution sparks conversation, she said.
Also in the audience was Mrs. Erma Victor, a retired teacher, who said she had gone to China several years ago and had an experience that mirrored that of An Unexpected Encounter.
In the dance, a tourist and his daughter encounter a group of people meditating, practicing Falun Dafa, and protesting their right to their spiritual faith.
Mrs. Victor said on her trip to China that she was told to avoid people practicing Falun Dafa, and that the warnings were “scary. So I could really relate to that one, as a result of my experience there.”
“Perhaps they’re doing it for everybody back in China, and maybe we’ll become aware of the injustices that people in China experience,” she said.
“I was awe-inspired” watching the show, she said. “It was splendid. It was just really unbelievable.”
Reporting by Hannah Cai 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 Dallas through Jan. 3. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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