Acclaimed Photographer Lauds ‘Full-Steam’ Shen Yun

January 18, 2015

NEW YORK—Robert Crites knows about the intensity of art. He is director of photography at The Art Institute of Philadelphia and came to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Jan. 17.

“They were very full-steam. The music, it was really, really amazing,” he said.

His wife Allison Crites said, “It was fast, fast moving. The pace was just flowing, it was wonderful. Very exciting!”

New York-based Shen Yun revives China’s rich 5,000-year-old culture, displaying ancient legends, ethnic dances, and classical Chinese dance, as well as scenes from contemporary life in China. The performances are accompanied by a traditional Western orchestra including Chinese instruments.

“I just think the music and dance together … and the stories were great,” Mr. Crites said.

Ms. Crites added, “Go see it! It’s so colorful!”

Soothing Music

For Amy Simon, a retired attorney, it was Shen Yun’s music that inspired her. “The music was almost hypnotic. It was so soothing. It left me feeling very peaceful and very calm.”

According to the Shen Yun website, “The Western orchestra with its energy and grandeur, and the Chinese instruments with their distinct tones and styles, create a dramatic new sound.”

This performance also featured the two-stringed erhu, a 4,000-year-old instrument known as the Chinese violin.

But for Ms. Simon, it was not only the music that touched her. “I think that every time you see something beautiful, it impacts the world,” she said

She also liked the fact that Shen Yun puts an emphasis on positive change as portrayed in The Power of Compassion.

The story, which is based on true events in modern China, depicts peaceful meditators of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline who are suddenly attacked by communist police and severely beaten.

But when an officer hurts his knee during the attack, the Falun Gong practitioners actually stop trying to flee and help the resistant officer. Moved by this compassion, the officer comes to regret his actions, leading to an unexpected blessing.

Ms. Simon said: “I believe very strongly that it’s only through individuals that the world changes, and not through the state or the government, but through our own hearts.”

Reporting by Pamela Cai, Sherry Dong, and Valentin Schmid

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.