WASHINGTON, D.C.—Shen Yun Performing Arts enchanted the audience at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Feb. 3.
Connie Sparrow, a real estate agent, and her friend Pat, who does ballet, ballroom, and jazz dancing—”not for living, but for love”—were enthralled by the performance.
“I thought it was gorgeous; the costumes, and the dancing,” Pat said.
Ms. Sparrow, meanwhile, had a previous connection to China, given that her great aunt had been a missionary to China from 1919 to 1924.
“They were just beautiful costumes. The way the women glided across the floor was amazing. The men are very athletic, to say the least,” Ms. Sparrow said. “We like the way it went from the stage into the screen, it was an excellent use of multimedia.
New York-based Shen Yun has one mission—to revive the 5,000 year old, divinely inspired Chinese culture, according to its website.
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, singers—together creating an experience that’s leaving millions in awe,” the website states. The company travels to more than 100 cities and 20 countries each year.
Pat, who preferred not to share her surname, said she really loved the dancing and the dainty movements.
Ms. Sparrow said that she was particularly taken by the performance Sewing the Flowers of Heaven, including the use of props. “It was very interesting how they incorporated that into the dance and story line,” she said. In that performance the dancers sew a gossamer silk cloth with their delicate fingers. “They unfurl their masterpiece in the heavens, where it scatters flowers of blessing for all of humankind,” says Shen Yun’s program book.
Both Ms. Sparrow and Pat, who preferred not to share her surname, were interested and moved by the several dance pieces that portray the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China, and their struggle for freedom of belief. A Shen Yun performance titled An Unexpected Encounter brought that subject to life.
Falun Dafa was introduced in China in the early 90s and has helped over 100 million Chinese ‘understand and return to the essence of traditional Chinese culture—Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist schools of thought,” according to Shen Yun’s website. Later, the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign against the practice, but the practioners have stood strong and, with their spirit of compassion and tolerance, “manifest the very essence of China’s 5,000 year old divine culture.”
Ms. Sparrow said her mother went to China the year before the Tiananmen Square massacre, during which pro-democracy students were killed on June 4, 1989.
Ms. Sparrow continued: “She had a wonderful time. The Chinese are so friendly and loving. It’s a shame that the government stamps everything out.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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