HOUSTON—Elmo Canales is teaching himself Chinese and learning about Chinese culture, so he was excited when he discovered Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“It’s beautiful, it’s everything I imagined about the Chinese culture, Chinese people,” said Mr. Canales after a performance at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec. 30.
Shen Yun presents an ancient and divine China. As the program notes, China was once known as the Celestial Empire, and its culture believed to be imparted by the divine. New York-based Shen Yun presents this authentic culture today with a production that covers 5,000 years of civilization.
Mr. Canales, a petroleum engineer, said he loved the folk and ethnic dances, in addition to the classical Chinese dance. It displayed to him the history of dance.
“It’s the Chinese people at their best. Of their warm heart, you see it in the music, you see it in their movements,” he said. “They dance in unison, yet each one has their own unique personality, and it shows in their movements.”
Shen Yun cannot perform in today’s China as the spiritual, traditional culture shown in Shen Yun was once nearly destroyed by the regime.
Mr. Canales said this is something that needs to evolve in order for China to be great.
“If their own people can see the greatness that is in them, they will turn back to their heritage,” he said. “It hasn’t been lost, it’s dormant, it’s asleep, if the youth can reach back to the roots, China can be greater.”
Sandi Pickett, a counselor and executive director of an adoption NGO, said the spiritual side of China she saw in Shen Yun was new to her.
She said it is wonderful that Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional culture, and that the artists are based outside of China where they are free to embody that culture.
“A culture in faith and purpose I think are very important to people,” Mrs. Pickett said. “Those are things we hold on to. If you don’t have those, there’s probably a hopelessness that sets in.”
And the culture she saw was beautiful down to every detail. “A very great cultural experience,” she said.
Deborah Medellin, executive director of Passport Health of Houston, brought her granddaughter Sarah Medellin to the performance and the two were glad to witness the beauty of ancient China.
“I think it is beautiful. I was just amazed at how honest they are being,” Ms. Medellin said.
Ms. Sarah Medellin said she loved the traditional culture, and had been to China.
“It’s definitely important for young people to learn traditional culture,” Ms. Medellin said. “We are swept up a lot by progressiveness, so I think it is nice to sit back and to appreciate traditional things and culture. It’s good for us to sit down and appreciate where we are coming from—not only where we are going to.”
“It is amazing, beautiful, and enchanting in a way,” she said. “It captures your attention, you try to look at everything at once because there is so much going on, and everything is so beautiful.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Mary Yuan, 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.
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.