Appeals Court Chief Judge: Shen Yun ‘Really Should Be Experienced’

April 19, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C—Years ago, Ted McKee, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, saw a flyer for Shen Yun Performing Arts, and had been wanting to see a performance ever since.

Since he was going to be away when Shen Yun came to his hometown, Philadelphia, this year—he and Dr. Ana McKee, his wife, came to Washington D.C., for the April 18 matinee at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

“It’s a perfect day here with the spring and we are seeing it inside [in the performance] as well,” said Mrs. McKee, referring to the vibrant pinks and greens in the costumes and backdrop. Mrs. McKee is the executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Joint Commission.

Mr. McKee also liked the colors, which he said “really are impressive.” The long flowing pink sleeves worn by female dancers in the piece Sleeves of Grace evoked for him “the flowing of the human spirit.”

Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance company based in New York. Its mission is to revive China’s traditional culture through the performing arts.

In addition to classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun performs ethnic and folk dances from different regions around China. Accompanying the dancers is a full live orchestra that blends both Western and traditional Chinese instruments.

Performances take audiences on a journey through China’s 5000 years of civilization, retelling ancient myths and legends, stories from classic Chinese literature, and vignettes from modern China.

Expression of Humanity

Spirituality is also key element of Shen Yun’s artistry. According to the Shen Yun website, the “spiritual connection is motivation for striving to excel, is the heart behind each movement of the dancer and each note of the musician. It is why audiences can feel there is something different about Shen Yun.”

Mr. McKee said he was impressed with how the spirituality manifested itself in the dance.

“[With] a couple of the dances especially, I was just amazed at how the humanity can physically manifest itself and the spiritual can be transformed into physical movements,” he said.

The piece The Power of Compassion, particularly stood out to him.

“Seeing [the persecution] transformed the way it was into music and dance really struck me. The violence it started out with, and how that violence turned into a form physical, communal expression of grace, that was impressive,” he said.

The piece depicts the persecution of the spiritual discipline Falun Dafa. Falun Dafa is a Chinese practice based on the principles of truth, compassion, and tolerance, values which are the “source of inspiration” for Shen Yun, according to the website.

Lots of Learning

Mrs. McKee said the performance overall was “very soothing” with “a lot of learning.” She also enjoyed the acrobatic leaps and flips that are a hallmark of classical Chinese dance, and the background scenery added by the state-of-the art animated backdrop.

“It’s very well done,” she said.

Mr. McKee said he would recommend others see the performance.

“They need to do themselves a favor and see it. On many different levels, it really should be experienced.” 

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