PORTLAND—The curtains came up on a fog-filled stage with dancers twirling long, rainbow ribbons, and “I was so impressed—I was in awe,” said Ms. Marie Epps, a retired 911 police dispatcher, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Keller Auditorium in Portland, Jan 17.
The New York-based Shen Yun puts on an all-new performance every year, and this was Ms. Epp’s first encounter with classical Chinese dance. She bought tickets as a Christmas gift for herself and Mr. Bob Kaufman, a retired police officer.
As a scholar of the Chinese language, Mr. Kaufman had wished to see Shen Yun for years.
He bought tickets previously to see a performance in Seattle, but ended up not being able to attend. Finally, he was able to see Shen Yun in Portland, and found it well worth the time and effort.
Through the performing arts, Shen Yun revives a culture once nearly lost—one said to be inspired by the heavens.
Ms. Epps was taken in from the opening scene, which told of the legend of the Creator coming down from the heavens to impart 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. In particular, Ms. Epps was moved by the spirituality of a culture not often seen in the modern day.
Values like benevolence, wisdom and propriety, justice, and respect for the heavens are some of the core principles of traditional Chinese culture, as Shen Yun’s website states. Dance plays a prominent role in human culture, and classical Chinese dance is rich with these values, having been passed down through the dynasties and refined into an independent and vast system of dance.
Ms. Epps enjoyed the stories and vignettes told through the different dances, ranging from the inception of Chinese civilization through the modern day. For example, one dance showed off the long sleeves that the ladies of the Tang Dynasty court wore, and another displayed the vibrant Yao ethnic group of China.
“It’s interesting to see what their culture was like because we’ve been kind of sheltered from some of the cultures in the world, and we’ve not had the chance to know them a little bit,” Ms. Epps said.
She added that Shen Yun is reviving the traditional culture to share with the world, even though it cannot be performed in China.
“It’s wonderful that they shared it with us,” Ms. Epps said. “That somebody has been working to bring it to us in spite of us not being able to see it.”
“It was a very wonderful performance,” she concluded. “We’ll be back again.”
Reporting by Lauren DePhillips 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.