Shen Yun, Weaving Ancient and Modern Together

February 13, 2016

WATERBURY, Conn.—Publisher and photographer Dan Brookes only wished he could have taken photos of the colorful scenes at Shen Yun Performing Arts, as he shared after he saw the performance at the Palace Theater on Feb. 13.

Having an affinity for Asian cultures and a belief in New York-based Shen Yun’s mission to revive the authentic traditional Chinese culture, Mr. Brookes brought a friend to see the company he had already witnessed once a couple of years ago.

Mr. Brookes thought it was amazing, and his friend Gwin Cook, in turn, thought it was just delightful.

In his youth, Mr. Brookes traveled in Asia, and the culture made a lasting impression on him. In the ’60s, he was a photographer in the Vietnam War, and coincidentally is coming out with a book this year about his time during that period. He and his many war veteran friends still keep in touch today, though they are all over the world.

In Shen Yun, he felt an immersive experience almost like he was revisiting the places he saw when he was very young, Mr. Brookes said. Yet it is such a shame that Shen Yun cannot present this traditional Chinese culture in China itself. China is still under the control of the communist regime, which sought to uproot and destroy the traditional culture when it came to power.

As a longtime graphic artist, Mr. Brookes was amazed at how Shen Yun used visuals to create the immersive experience. There were stories and scenes set underwater, and the backdrop and costumes simulated that effect so well, he said. All of it was beautiful but some things just stick in your mind, he said, and the water was one of those moments.

He was so impressed when he first saw it, and the use of an animated backdrop continues to surprise him.

“To see the multimedia presentation of the people descending from the heavens, and then popping up on the stage. The first time I saw it, it was like wow! It was really amazing,” he said. “It’s using modern day technology but at the same time, an ancient culture, and the weaving of both of those together. It’s so amazing. I’d recommend it to everyone.”

For Ms. Cook, it was a beautiful performance of stories. She had heard of Shen Yun before from friends who thought it was great, but never got around to attending. She was glad for Mr. Brooke’s invitation and said it was now something she’d be recommending herself.

“I’m happy to be here,” she said. “It was delightful, very beautiful.”

Reporting by Gary Du 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.

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.