COSTA MESA, Calif.—”I walked away uplifted in a special way that I haven’t been uplifted before,” said Rudy Rangel, an elementary school teacher, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts on Jan. 31.
“I’m just totally impressed. It was an inspirational program,” said Mr. Rangel. “Five thousand years of Chinese history, the music, the dancing – all the routines. Everyone was just great.”
Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance and music to tell the stories of 5,000 years of China’s culture, from the ancient past to today.
Mr. Rangel said the performance inspired him because “in this world we have our challenges, things come our way we don’t expect, but yet there is hope, there are others who can help us get by through these challenges, and I saw this in the different dances.”
“You just had a good feeling that the good is in the world and evil can be overcome and that expressed itself in this program,” he continued.
The stories told in Shen Yun draw on China’s divinely inspired culture, as the Shen Yun website explains: “digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
The performance touched his heart throughout, he said, but “it built up a little more at the end. As I said, the way it just culminated in the end that good can overcome evil, and the music was inspirational, and the singers, just terrific.”
Interspersed between the dance pieces are operatic songs, sung in Chinese using the bel canto vocal technique. “The song texts the singers perform are original works written for these pieces. Brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and containing deep layers of meaning, the texts go beyond the boundaries of nation, race, and culture, and have been fondly received and appreciated the world over,” explains the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Rangel said that for people who haven’t seen Shen Yun, “It’s beautiful. You should come, you should see it; it will inspire you.”
“If you don’t know too much about Chines culture, the history, I would recommend this, because through dance and song and music this would reach out to you in a special way that perhaps hasn’t ever been done before,” he said.
“You will be a changed person,” he continued. “And I think you’d really walk away as a better person to see this program.”
Also deeply moved by Shen Yun’s Jan. 31 performance was Silvia Ichar, who owns a Spanish-language magazine, and also teaches music.
“It is so spiritual and is so powerful – what we saw today,” said Ms. Ichar. “That is a lesson for a better life.”
“I admire the Chinese culture. But the message that we all got from this beautiful show is going to change our lives,” she said.
Supporting each dance, in addition to a live orchestra, is an animated digital backdrop, and brilliant, handmade costumes.
“The music, the color, the movements, the ladies singing— it was really so touching and it shows,” said Ms. Ichar.
She said her heart was touched throughout the show, and that “there were too many moments in the whole show that I got goose bumps.”
Ms. Ichar said in “the dance, I could see the spirits of the people giving everything to us in a message, ‘This is China. This is how we are and this is our treasure,’ and I am very happy to have been part of this in all the audience.”
“Their movements, the clothing, and the way they do those magical movements, it was really perfect,” she said of the dancers.
One particular highlight for Ms. Ichar was a solo performance on the erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument. “The erhu is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Though it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions,” explains the Shen Yun website.
“I couldn’t believe it, that there were only two strings,” she said. “I’m a music teacher and I’ve never had the joy of enjoying such a performance. It was really fantastic.”
“I think it touches the soul. It comes straight to our heart,” she continued about the erhu. “The sound is very deep and comes to your veins. I was very touched.”
Ms. Ichar said that she would tell others that Shen Yun “is a life changing experience.”
“I’m looking forward to come next year, because it is true. Every year is completely different,” she said, concluding her comments. “What I saw last year, with what I saw today, are two different shows. So come over. Everybody needs to empower themselves watching this.”
With reporting by Mandy Huang and Ben Bendig
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006