NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Bob Stiefel, an alumni of California State University Northridge (CSUN), is a major founding donor of CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center where Shen Yun Performing Arts graced its stage.
His passion for performing arts runs deep, making the Shen Yun performance Mr. Stiefel saw more significant.
After watching Shen Yun’s afternoon performance on April 20, he said Shen Yun presented the most spectacular performance he had ever seen since the venue opened four and a half years ago.
Mr. Stiefel felt a connection with heaven while watching Shen Yun’s performance.
“It was God in action, coming about in a performance on a stage and on the stage of CSUN, which is the greatest spectacle I’ve seen so far here at this venue,” he said.
China was known as the “Celestial Kingdom,” a unique land where the divine and mortals coexisted. The ancient Chinese believed in harmony between heaven, earth, and humankind, and believed that traditional Chinese culture was brought down from the heavens. But since mid 1960s, this culture has nearly been destroyed by the communist rule.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in 2006 with a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture and beliefs, and to share it with the world through story-based dance and music.
Through approximately 20 vignettes, audiences are invited to take a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture and beliefs to modern day where “mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Mr. Stiefel was deeply captivated by the divine aspect of the performance: “I felt like I was taken away. I mean how could you not, when you’re looking at angels and people being magically, by stage magic, being uplifted into heaven, and then come back down. Don’t we all feel that way at times that we have an angel on our shoulder, usually the right shoulder? That’s the way I felt. That’s what’s so wonderful.”
He explained: “You’re taken to another world of magic. To hear some of the Chinese instruments that I have never heard before is very magical, especially the two-stringed one … It was quite wonderful, very enjoyable.”
He was referring to the erhu, which is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Incredibly expressive, it is capable of conveying a wide range of deep emotions.
Shen Yun’s final vignette, called “Hope for the Future,” is set in modern day, depicting practitioners of Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation practice that espouses truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, are persecuted by the communist regime.
“Just when it seems like all hope is lost, a holy scene appears and a new era begins,” according to the program.
“Hopeful, that’s how [the performance] ended. Hopeful, it made me very hopeful. But it takes all of us in the world, working together to make it all work,” Mr. Stiefel said.
“That’s what the art does, and that’s what art is about. It is uniting all people into one, and that’s what you’ve done as far as I’m concerned today.”
Mr. Stiefel addressed Shen Yun’s performers: “Oh my goodness, you’re wonderful! Many of you are quite young. It is the best years of your life. Please don’t miss the journey, and the people that you meet on that journey.”
He encouraged everyone to see Shen Yun: “Come and see it! No one will know, no matter what I say or what anybody else says, unless you come and experience things yourself. It [performs] all over Southern California at the moment, and all over the world.”
Mr. Stiefel said, “It’s all very, very wonderful, and I hope to see it again.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Thanh Le
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.