SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—World-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts gave a memorable and heartfelt performance at The Granada Theatre, on March 30.
In attendance was Jean Weidemann, international expert on women’s issues, author, and founder and president of the Weidemann Foundation; also attending was her daughter Stephanie Kirlin, vice-president of development and chief technology officer at the Weidemann Foundation and creator of Bridging Our Worlds Together, an after school program for “at risk” youth.
“The show was wonderful,” said Ms. Weidemann. “It was really, really beautiful. I think [the] dancers and vocalists are so, so talented.”
“It was beautiful to watch,” said Ms. Kirlin. “The choreography is amazing, phenomenal.”
Shen Yun is a non-profit performing arts organization founded in 2006 and based in New York, with the goal of reviving 5,000 years of true, divinely inspired Chinese culture through breathtaking music and dance, according to the website.
Classical Chinese dance is the focus of a Shen Yun performance, with live orchestra, musical soloists, stunning costumes, and rich, colorful backdrops rounding out the experience.
“The costumes were beautiful,” said Ms. Weidemann. “The ladies were amazing, and the men were in such amazing physical condition.”
Ms. Weidemann and her daughter were very impressed by the synchronicity of the dancers with the other elements of the performance. Ms. Weidemann especially loved the animated digital backdrops, which interacted with the performers on stage, allowing them to appear to do extraordinary things, such as fly into the air.
Ms. Kirlin also noticed that Shen Yun’s artists had an inner beauty that was expressed through their dancing.
“There’s a beauty and a joy that I see within all of them,” she said. “I don’t know how to express that other than you see it in what they do, and they dance with their souls.”
Ms. Weidemann said she felt a feeling of compassion from the performers, and Ms. Kirlin agreed, saying there were universal truths shared within the spiritual elements of Shen Yun.
“I think there’s a universal speech in that,” said Ms. Kirlin. “There’s a universal spirituality in all of us … [Shen Yun is] telling a story of history, and a story of the future and a story of what’s happening right now, and I remember leaning over to my friend Brian and saying that this is a universal truth. We’re all connected. It doesn’t matter whether we’re all speaking another language.”
Ms. Weidemann was also very glad to see that the performance addressed the issue of the persecution of the meditation practice Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, in China.
“I was very, very impressed with the fact … that [they’re] bringing out the issue of the Falun Gong,” she said. “I think that’s extremely important for Westerners to know about.”
Ms. Kirlin said the arts are a great tool to help find the answer to many problems around the world.
“I think performance art—any kind of art—I think we can find solutions in that. Whether it’s performance art, graphic art, any kind of art, I think there is a solution in that. I commend anything that you do, that we do, [so] that we can find solutions for the world.”
Ms. Weidemann and Ms. Kirlin said they would tell their friends to see Shen Yun, and next year, they would be back.
“I will be here,” said Ms. Kirlin. “If it’s even a tiny bit different, I’ll be here.”
“I’ll be here too,” said Ms. Weidemann.
Reporting by NTD Television and Sarah Le
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