DETROIT—”I just loved! I thought it was gorgeous!” said business owner Mark Sims after attending Shen Yun Performing Arts’s afternoon performance on Sunday, Feb. 8 at the Detroit Opera House.
“The costumes were beautiful, the dancers magnificent!” He’d been unaware of classical Chinese dance, for which Shen Yun is known, and seeing that it dealt with profound issues made it all the more meaningful to him.
“For 5,000 years divine culture flourished in the land of China. Humanity’s treasure was nearly lost, but through breathtaking music and dance, Shen Yun is bringing back this glorious culture,” according to the company’s website.
Mr. Sims, is president of Nanorex, Inc., which developed the first Computer Aided-Design software platform for nanoscale design. He has had a life-long interest in dance.
“I’ve learned that there’s a spiritual aspect to dance and for me, dancing is the ultimate celebration of life. That’s my attitude about it, and that’s one of the reasons I came because I love dance, all forms of dance, and so that’s what’s so wonderful about this performance. It is a celebration of life at all levels and has a lot of meaning,” he said.
In fact, it was the deeper, spiritual element of Shen Yun that attracted Mr. Sims: “Because I find music, dance, very spiritual by its very nature and [it] unites us, unites all humanity. All cultures have music and dance at the core of their identity and spirituality as well, all these cultures, all of us on Earth.”
Some of the classical Chinese dances tell of ancient legends, others tell stories with a spiritual basis and take place in China today. Specifically, some are about a meditation practice, Falun Dafa, a practice that places emphasis on truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Mr. Sims has recently starting meditating. “It’s really awakened me,” he said. “It’s enlightened me in ways I never imagined. And I am very curious, again, to learn more about Dafa and even try [it]. I’d like to learn, try it myself.”
Mr. Sims was accompanied by his father, Mr. Tim Sims, a retired business owner, who loved the performance, and also by two other friends.
One of them, Karen Spranger, agreed with Mark’s comments. “It really was so spiritual, but it really goes deeper than that. It gives you the image of your soul and that there’s life after death, and the stories behind it were so full of joy and happiness that you are prepared wherever you have to go after life, and heaven is such a wonderful place to be. This showed that part in a very strong way, and I just will remember it.”
The dances telling of Falun Dafa, put their stories in context of their brutal, widespread, and ongoing persecution in China by the communist regime.
Dr. Janet Koprince was interested in this aspect. “They’re being spiritually deprived or being repressed spiritually. I did not know that and I thank [Shen Yun] for bringing that to us and the world. … I think when you take away people’s spirituality, you allow fear to be introduced. You can then introduce fear and control people.”
“In America, we are trying to realize the oneness of everybody—the oneness,” Dr. Koprince said. “In China, it seems like [they] are trying to take that away from people.”
Commenting further on Shen Yun’s spirituality Ms. Spranger said, “I saw that the end of the story is a happy one. It’s a very strong connection to soul, and soul is connected to all people in the whole world, and we live forever.”
Reporting by Ying Wan and Jeanmarie Lunsford
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
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