BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—When the Ganszaks went to pick up their 5-year-old granddaughter from pre-school on April 27, everyone from the school approached them. Somehow the children all knew that she was going someplace special. The children asked, “Oh, are you going to China?”
In their granddaughter’s mind, she was going to China. She was going to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Rabobank Theater in Bakersfield, California. Her grandparents had read a piece about the performance aloud to her, so she had a good idea what it would be about.
The three indeed felt like they’d traveled to China during the two and a half hours of the classical Chinese dance and music performance.
“We’ve actually touched China. We’ve touched it. We’ve touched the wonderful beauty of China,” said Ron Ganczak, a radiology technician. And he explained that little Leyla was absolutely captivated.
“Just from the moment that she started watching it, she was utterly amazed. She couldn’t take her eyes off it. She’s only 5 years old, and she’s been wanting to get into the arts herself, and she just sat and stared and watched every bit of it. Finally she said, ‘Grandpa, that’s magical!'”
Leyla was particularly enchanted by one of the two bilingual emcees. Julie Xu, who spoke primarily in Chinese, impressed the little girl.
“She really appreciated just her beauty,” Candice Ganszak, an artist, said. “Her pure beauty and her mannerisms, her elegance, and the way she presented herself. She really shined a lot to her.”
As an artist, Mrs. Ganczak has a grasp of both Chinese and Western art and appreciates both perspectives: “The Western art, you bring your focus forward, where [in] Chinese art, they focus on more of that which is unseen. And I appreciate both parts of that.”
Ms. Ganczak said she smiled the whole time, amazed by every aspect. “They fit, everything fit. It was just perfect, the way you could literally—we don’t even speak Chinese—you could understand everything they were doing,” she said.
Creating a rich, immersive, sensory experience, Shen Yun treats viewers to stories from China’s legendary 5,000 years of history. Classical Chinese dance tells snippets of that history and is supported by a symphony orchestra that blends Western and Chinese instruments. Digitally animated backdrops act as settings. Bel canto vocalists, an instrumental piece, and two hosts introducing each vignette in English and Chinese complete what Mr. Ganczak considered a performance of magic.
Everything in the performance spoke to Mrs. Ganczak: “The colors, the music, the grace. You know, God’s grace is just really amazing.”
At bottom, Shen Yun aims to restore the sublimity of Chinese culture which once rested on the divinely bestowed ideals such as compassion, reverence, and steadfast faith.
Because every aspect of the performance, from the vibrant colors to the dancers’ every thought and movement, worked to embody spiritual principles, Mrs. Ganczak felt all of it to be inspiring and meaningful.
She found particularly interesting that as far as beliefs are concerned, culture and race seem irrelevant. Shen Yun’s final dance, “Hope for the Future,” depicts the end of times, when the Creator arrives to renew the earth.
“We believe [in] the same thing, and it kind of shocked me because I don’t study that kind of philosophy, but it … shocked me that … we believe almost in similar things, in similar ways. It was new to me and it was really an eye opener. And I appreciated it very much,” she said.
Overall, Mr. Ganczak was left with a feeling of hope: “I can honestly say, … when you see the troubles in the world, you see how bad everything is in so many places, it’s so wonderful to come … and see people from a different place come here and want to share with you, and become a brotherhood with you and sisterhood with you, and that’s … I would say: this is a spiritual brotherhood and sisterhood of sharing. That’s what this is.”
Reporting by Alex Lee 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.