HOUSTON—”It was magnificent, it was splendid, just beautiful a work of art,” said Elyse Ellis, who had been waiting to see Shen Yun Performing Arts and finally was able to attend with her father at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec. 23.
“It’s a living art,” she said.
Ms. Ellis described and explained why she felt New York-based Shen Yun’s performance was living art: The performers, Ms. Ellis said, were living, breathing, becoming, and experiencing day to day what they are trying to bring to the audience. In that way it is brought alive and exemplified in the movements, she said.
The emcees had explained that Shen Yun means the “feeling of divine beings dancing.” Ms. Ellis agreed.
“It was right there—you can feel it, within the dancing, within the production itself,” Ms. Ellis said. Traditional Chinese culture is said to be divinely inspired, and thus deeply spiritual. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive that traditional culture through the performing arts.
The production is varied, with classical Chinese dance, folk and ethnic dances, an erhu (the “Chinese two-stringed violin”) solo, and stories from various dynasties and legends. Ms. Ellis explained that the spiritual connection was present throughout the performance, such as through a character’s compassion.
She referred to the performers’ beliefs as a key point. According to the program, Shen Yun performers draw spiritual inspiration from the meditation discipline called Falun Gong, which is rooted in China’s ancient spiritual traditions, and strive to live by truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
“They explain, and exemplify how they bring [that] to the world and it was really beautiful, really moving,” Ms. Ellis said.
It was in the dance, and it was in the music.
When Ms. Ellis heard the erhu, it automatically resonated with her.
“It hits you right at the soul,” Ms. Ellis said. “It reaches in and grabs a hold of you … it’s strings, and it also touches on your heart strings, so what better instrument to do that than that?”
For her father John Thomas, Director of Information Technology for Rice University, there was a universality about the performance.
The spiritual aspect, for instance, was something Mr. Thomas said goes back back beyond the beginning of time.
“They’re allowing through dance, through stories, to continue to pursue a tradition, of continuing the tradition,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see it in today’s time.”
“It’s universal human values,” Mr. Thomas said.
The two said it was a performance they hoped to see again.
“I love it, I’m so appreciative and so glad that I’m able to experience this and enjoy it and taking a little bit with me,” Ms. Ellis said. “I’m very happy for that.”
Reporting by Stacy Chen and Catherine Yang
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.