Playwright: ‘I enjoyed the stories’ in Shen Yun
Playwright: ‘I enjoyed the stories’ in Shen Yun

NEW YORK—As a professor and playwright, Sabura Rashid was taken by the stories she saw on stage presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Jan. 18.

Shen Yun is a New York-based performing arts company that presents 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. 

“I enjoyed the stories,” Ms. Rashid said. 

With its mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun performers often presents mini-dramas based on stories and legends from the past. 

“It was very colorful. I particularly enjoyed the performance with the frog,” Ms. Rashid said. 

“The Monkey King Thwarts The Evil Toad” was one of this year’s dances on the program. The story tells of a Buddhist monk and his disciples who have a run-in with a cunning toad while on a quest for Buddhist scriptures. 

To complement each story, Shen Yun also uses animated digital backdrops that complement and synchronize all aspects of a performance, according to its website. 

“It was very creative, how the computer graphics were incorporated with the dance… that was really good,” Ms. Rashid said.

Ms. Rashid, who works as an adjunct professor of ethics and race at the City University of New York (CUNY), also found that the music relaxed her. 

“The music was so calming,” she said. 

Shen Yun’s orchestra combines the sounds of a Western philharmonic orchestra and traditional Chinese instruments. “The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear,” reads the Shen Yun website.

Another piece that stood out for Ms. Rashid was “Buddha’s Compassion Shines Forth,” which takes place in contemporary China, where the Chinese Communist regime has been persecuting the spiritual practice of Falun Dafa, whose foundation rests on the beliefs of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

The piece shows practitioners of Falun Dafa practicing meditation, when suddenly they are subjected to persecution; later they receive salvation from Lord Buddha. 

“I appreciated that—bringing culture, which is in China thousands of years old, and making it relevant to what’s going on today,” Ms. Rashid said. 

Reporting by Alec Wang and Kristina Skorbach

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.

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