MESA, Ariz.—Artist Tina LaRea attended the Shen Yun Performing Arts performance at the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center on March 12 and appreciated the artistry. LaRea, an oil painter who specializes in classical realist still lifes, loved the “life principles that we can live by: … compassion, remembering your history, and bringing forward the good.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to bring back China’s 5,000 years of culture to the modern stage—through story-based dance and music.
In one dance about a woman’s heart being organ-harvested, LaRea said, “[There are] things from Heaven that can’t be stolen. The heart can’t be stolen from someone and given to somebody else. It was very moving for me.”
She said the message was relevant today. “I think the relevance of this is compassion. We may not believe in the same religious doctrines—if we would just get rid of the doctrine and love one another with compassion and understand and give life and friendship and help one another. I think those are principles that we could all live by no matter where we come from, no matter what faith we practice.”
LaRea was sad that the Chinese people could not see the Shen Yun production, showing the beauty, grace, strength, and discipline in traditional Chinese dance. “Everything was just so timely.”
She sat next to a 5-year old who wanted to be a ballerina. “You could just hear her just suck the air out of the room when those dancers came on,” LaRea said.
As an artist, LaRea wished she could paint the compassion depicted in the performance. “If I could paint the beauty and the elegance and the strength of opposites. In Chinese, I guess it’s called the yin and yang. It was the opposites that were represented and that’s what I paint—light and darkness. It was just beautiful.”
Watching the show, LaRea felt connected. “We can’t present to somebody else what we don’t have within us. And so when we go and we make a presentation of something within us whether it’s love or compassion or understanding, reaching out to help somebody in need, whatever that is, I saw them doing that. And that’s not an external thing. It is all internal and I was connecting on those levels, basically on faith and, and compassion and understanding and love and kindness.”
She said there’s interconnectivity with all people. Even scientifically, “we are all molecules and we are not separate from one another. And I really connected with that.” LaRea wanted to connect with the performers. “I wanted also to share back with them and say, ‘I see you and you did a good job.’”
LaRea said she would post her positive experience on Instagram that there “was beauty, there was strength, there was faith, there was compassion. There was the sense of sharing love across the world and no being condemning … someone else for not believing the way that you believe.”
With reporting by NTD and Yvonne Marcotte.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.