PHOENIX—For Dr. Jesse Mireles, seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts was both uplifting and a reminder that freedom of expression cannot be enjoyed by people in mainland China. He attended the evening performance on April 5, 2016, accompanied by Ms. Daymara Cesar, the owner of a civil engineering company.
“It was such a moving program. I was really moved and surprised that … it’s a Chinese program, and it’s so beautiful, and the songs they are singing are directly related to our faith, and yet the speaker said that what we’re seeing here you would never see in China. That kind of broke my heart because you’d think that what we’re seeing is what you’d see in China. It was sad to hear that that’s the way it is, ” said Dr. Mireles, whose doctorate is in the field of architecture and construction.
Dr. Mireles also expressed that it was a gratifying experience to observe the dancers’ countenances.
“I had binoculars, and I wanted to see their faces as they were putting on the [performance], and they are really excited about what they’re doing, and that excitement goes onto the audience. It was really inspiring; very inspiring,” he said.
The New York-based company has gone through many years of struggle since it was founded in 2006. Despite being the premier company that seeks to revive classical Chinese dance and traditional culture, in China these values stand in antithesis to the communist regime’s agenda.
On the company’s website under the heading “Challenges we face” Shen Yun has documented how the communist regime has changed its sabotage techniques annually in order to interfere with Shen Yun’s momentous global success.
Ms. Cesar who also comes from a Communist country noted that Shen Yun’s performance “was heart-felt. Because I come from communist country, I understood the message they were trying to put out to the world for those people in China that are continuing to be persecuted for their ideas,” she said, referring to the ongoing persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China that is portrayed in the dance narrative, “The Steadfast Heart.”
Ms. Cesar’s love of Chinese culture runs deep—it is part of her family’s heritage, making the performance she witnessed doubly significant.
“It touched me at a personal level because my great grandfather was from China. I had a little bit of Chinese in my culture, so I have always loved the Chinese culture,” said Ms. Cesar adding, “and this is something that I’m look forward to in the year and the following years because it’s something that feels close to me.”
As many audience members have noted, apart from the dances, the costumes and the music of Shen Yun are unique as well.
Dr. Mireles recounted how he and his guest, Ms. Cesar, both enjoyed and commented on the ever-changing, dazzling array of colors and costumes: “The synchronization, the organization, the discipline, the music, especially that little girl [who played the erhu], I was just in awe that she took just a string and a bow, and she made beautiful music out of that. It was great to see. It made me feel happy.”
The erhu, which has a history of over 4,000 years, is a two string instrument. It is said to be one of the most evocative and touching of traditional Chinese instruments, and the closest to the human voice.
As a final point, Dr. Mireles reiterated that he was inspired to see that someone who can never go to their mother country can nonetheless perform here in a country of freedom. “I’ll be back next year,” he said.
Similarly, Ms. Cesar was already looking forward to coming back next season when Shen Yun will be putting on a brand new performance. “Absolutely impressive. I’ll be here next year,” she said.
“This was something really inspiring to come and see from a learning standpoint. I’m inspired to one day be able to speak Chinese and be able to go to China and find my relative there. That’s kind of my search in my future,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Kati Vereshaka
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.