ST. LOUIS—”I’m so glad we came,” said Cecila Cotter, stressing the word “so” emphatically. “How they show emotion without even speaking, through their dance. You absolutely can feel it—through their dance. It’s beautiful,” she said of Shen Yun Performing Arts’s dancers that she, her daughter Sarah Longfield, and granddaughter, Jaden, saw on Feb. 12.
All three ladies truly enjoyed the classical Chinese dance they saw at St. Louis’s Peabody Opera House—a type of dance that can tell stories.
Based in New York, Shen Yun uses one of the most expressive dance systems in the world to tell stories culled from China’s 5,000-year history. Using ancient legends, literary classics, and stories about China today, Shen Yun reveals a traditional culture believed to be divinely bestowed.
The stories are steeped in the principles of compassion, respect for the heavens, and propriety—ideals originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
“It’s very spiritual. It’s a very spiritual show, and I could feel that with the dancers,” Ms. Cotter, a medical assistant, said.
In order to portray these ideals through the dances, the performers cultivate them in their own lives, and then radiate positive energy on stage, which audiences often mention.
Ms. Cotter saw messages she felt were beautiful. It depicted a higher power “and that we’re mere mortals, and there’s something much bigger than we are,” she said.
Ms. Longfield, also a medical assistant, agreed with her mother: “The Creator can come down and—to touch people that way—it kind of gives you hope,” she said.
In the opening dance, the Creator arrives and calls divine beings to Earth to fulfill their sacred vows, the program notes explain.
The idea of the Creator and the struggle between good and evil shown in some of the dances are universal stories, Ms. Longfield felt.
She truly appreciated catching a glimpse, if only the tip of the iceberg, of China’s long-lived traditional culture, and was glad her daughter was being exposed to a different cultural expression of commons values.
And the expression of those values was varied for Ms. Longfield, who felt the presentation offered a full range of emotions.
“Emotionally it is very moving. Very moving,” Ms. Cotter said.
“And to see them to be able to tell a story … and to be able to tell so much of a story without even any words is just amazing! It’s beautiful. It’s very simplistic in ways, but very creative and elaborate in ways too. So it kind of gives you that sweet and salty,” Ms. Longfield said.
Summing up the performance, the ladies called it “breathtaking.”
Reporting by Nancy Ma and Sharon Kilarski
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.
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.