INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—When Teddy and Jerry Amoloza first heard about Shen Yun Performing Arts, they couldn’t attend it in Normal, Ill., so they decided to drive to Indianapolis to catch the performance, on April 19, at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University.
Using the performing arts, Shen Yun, based in New York, aims to restore 5,000 years of Chinese culture.
Mr. Amoloza teaches economics at East Central College in Missouri, but lives in Bloomington, Ill. Mrs. Amoloza just stepped down as the executive director of ASIANetwork, which promotes Asian studies in the Liberal Arts colleges in the U.S. She teaches sociology and international studies at Illinois Wesleyan University.
“I’m interested in anything Asian,” Mrs. Amoloza explained, and she felt that Shen Yun provided a different look at China, a look from an arts’ perspective.
The ancient culture that Shen Yun aims to revive includes its traditional values and spiritual heritage, all but lost during years of communist rule.
At the “very beginning there was this depiction of creation, of how humankind came into being, and it came from an eternal being,” she said, describing the first dance of the presentation.
“The society of China’s culture—the depiction [by Shen Yun]—is coming from a deity,” she said. “What they’re trying to depict is that there is this kind of unity,” she said. “It’s the unity of heaven and earth.”
“China was once known as Shen Zhou? The Divine Land. This profound name describes a land where deities and mortals coexisted, and a belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth,” Shen Yun’s website states.
Furthermore, “Throughout history almost every culture looked toward the divine for inspiration. Art was meant to uplift, bringing joy to both the people who created and experienced it. It is this principle that drives Shen Yun performers and their art.”
Some of the short dances making up the evening’s performance tell stories of courage from China today. These depict the plight of Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation practice that follows Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. It is currently oppressed in China.
“Having seen the show and having learned that its based in New York , … it can depict some aspects of China’s society that probably would not be welcome within China, … like the depiction of the Falun Gong, for example, and the freedom to worship that’s being repressed,” she said.
Professor Amoloza found the spiritual message to be universal.
“I think it doesn’t matter whether it is Christian, or Buddhist, or Taoist, or Confucianism, I think there’s just that universal principle of human beings being kind to one another and being good to another, and trying to understand each other, and the chaos in the world would probably not exist,” she said.
Reporting by Valerie Avore 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.
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.