PHILADELPHIA—Nandan Rao, a vice president with DuPont, expressed great admiration for Shen Yun Performing Arts and the company’s artists after watching their performance at the Merriam Theater on Saturday evening.
“Simply wonderful,” he said.
“I think what really strikes me most is the historical significance that is represented in dance, and the fact that … the dances are not even performed in China is just unbelievable,” he said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by a group of leading classical Chinese artists with a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture, which has been almost destroyed after decades of communist rule in China, according to the Shen Yun website. The company travels the globe each year, staging performances for people all around the world, but currently cannot visit China.
“It is such beautiful art. It has such a tasteful content. I don’t know why it is not depicted to the public [in China],” said Mr. Rao.
When asked about the task that the company has set for itself to revive China’s culture, Mr. Rao said the mission is “very difficult.”
“They are such accomplished artists, and they must devote their whole life to this, and I admire them. I really, really admire them,” he said.
‘A spiritual experience’
Heatheranne Phelan, who is pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, attended the same performance. She says she hopes to watch Shen Yun each year as the company re-embarks on its world tour with completely new program.
Heatheranne Phelan at the Shen Yun Performing Arts show at the Merriam Theater on April 26, 2014. (NTD Television)
“The first time I saw it was last year, and I just fell in love. I hope to make it a tradition,” she said.
“I love the passion of the dancers, the singers, the musicians, and on top of that, you have combinations of costumes, movement, and music that are thousands of years in the making; and it’s just exquisite.”
With all this beauty, passion, and culture, it’s no surprise that the company is named Shen Yun, or “the beauty of heavenly beings dancing,” Ms. Phelan said.
“I can’t think of a better name than Shen Yun,” she said.
While bursting into tears, Ms. Phelan struggled to find the right words to explain her impression of Shen Yun and the deep meanings contained in its performances.
“I wish I could put words to it; it’s so uplifting to know that there’s so much power waiting for us not necessarily in this life, but in the next,” she said.
“It’s uplifting, it’s a spiritual experience…it’s not just entertainment.”
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture,” reads the Shen Yun website.
“Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
“Glorious,” Ms. Phelan said about She Yun in one word.
“I think that’s a …wonderful word for it.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Kati Vereshaka
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.