DALLAS—Todd Barton found joy in the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, Shen Yun Performing Arts, appearing at Winspear Opera House on Jan. 4.
“I think it’s fantastic. I think the choreography, the fluidity and the flow, and the music, all of it is just—it’s fantastic. It’s a complete joy to be here,” said the Dell technologist.
Mr. Barton was impressed with the entire New York-based performance, which aspires to revive China’s 5,000-year-old culture with its sophisticated dance techniques, solo artists, a live orchestra joining instruments from both East and West, and stunning backdrops.
“How they are able to express themselves in the movement—and how it expresses the singing, and the entire background, and it draws the story all together and makes everything run nice, comprehensive, a complete storyline. It’s incredible,” Mr. Barton said.
Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution all come to life, washing over the audience, the company website says. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.
“For me, that part is the learning experience. I’ve never been exposed to it, and so it’s partly the reason that I’m here, is to get a sense of what that traditional Chinese culture looks like,” Mr. Barton said.
He said he hadn’t understood Chinese history before, nor the cause of its destruction under the past 60 years of communist rule.
“That’s the part that was probably more revealing; I didn’t understand the history and how the divinity—how that’s missing now.”
In one vignette, The Steadfast Lotus, people on the street are practicing Falun Dafa, the program book explains. This is the spiritual meditation discipline, also known as Falun Gong, whose practitioners have been persecuted in China for over a decade. Among them, a mother gives her daughter a beautiful banner decorated with a lotus flower and three words that form the tenets of their faith: “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance.”
“I believe in the divine, I believe in spirituality. As you saw, the daughter and mother relationship, that bond there—and how that was really strong and how that’s evident here in the Western side. So there’s a lot of connectedness between the two cultures.”
Mr. Barton said the story displayed “good fundamentals, basic values that should be applied everywhere.”
For five years, he had been working as an IT technician for the Winspear Opera House. He always looked into the performances, searching for Christmas gifts for his wife, and that’s how he discovered Shen Yun.
His wife also praised the Shen Yun production.
“It’s beautiful, relaxing, interesting. I actually really, really enjoy the drumsets—whenever we get the beat going, it’s a really nice balance between the grace and beauty, and then that music is really invigorating. So it’s been really nice,” Mrs. Barton said.
Reporting by Lucas Lee and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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.