ESCONDIDO, Calif.—Robert A. Poppleton, a certified public accountant, took his wife Jenny to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at California Center for the Arts for Valentine’s Day.
The couple sat in the fourth row near the center, and Poppleton said he absolutely loved it.
“It was fabulous,” he said. “The dancing was just absolutely exquisite, the costuming was incredible … You could come back and see this year after year after year and it would be well worth it.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in New York in 2006 and now has a total of six companies touring around the world with a completely new production every year, according to the company website.
A Shen Yun performance focuses on classical Chinese dance, accompanied with a live orchestra with both Chinese and Western instruments, and includes vibrant costumes, an interactive backdrop, musical soloists, ethnic dances, and story-based dances. Bilingual emcees help introduce the audience to the 5,000 years of traditional, divinely-inspired Chinese culture.
Poppleton said the synchronization and athleticism of the dancers was incredible.
“There wasn’t one dancer out there that couldn’t have starred in any Broadway show that I’ve ever seen. I mean the dancing was on a level that just defies anything I’ve seen before,” he said.
The couple was close enough to the stage to see each dancers’ facial expressions, which were also in sync and matched each vignette’s theme. Poppleton said he enjoyed seeing these performers interact with the backdrop, with the dancers often appearing to go into the background scenery, then returning to the stage again.
“I loved the transition. It just flowed so naturally that you almost forgot that that was actually a movie up on the screen,” he said.
Poppleton also said the blend of the Western and Eastern sounds in the orchestra was very beautiful.
A Spiritual Message
Overall, Poppleton’s impression of Shen Yun was that the performance had a positive spiritual message.
“Just the whole message of why we’re on this earth,” he said. “The fact that we have a bright future for us, not possibly in this life, but there is a life after that awaits us, and the message became clear to me that it’s how we live our life here [that’s] important.”
In reviving traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun performers try to emulate the rich traditional values inherent in this Chinese culture, such as respect for the heavens, living in balance with nature, and the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness.
Poppleton said he appreciated the beginning of the performance, where it appeared that the Creator came down to earth.
“I thought that was really well-done,” he said. “It’s a belief that I have that we lived before this life with our Creator, and we came here as a separation to learn some very valuable things that we need to learn on this earth. And that we will return to be with him and that there is a reason for being here.”
He continued, “But we also have to love our fellow man and be kind and generous and I thought that message came out very clear in all the little stories.”
Shen Yun artists themselves also cultivate their character and wisdom, which benefits their creativity and self-discipline and can be seen within the performance.
“I thought that was very clear that we are here for this ultimate divine purpose,” he said. “And that message came out very, very clear. Ultimately, there is a higher purpose. The more we can attain that in this life, the better.”
Poppleton was touched by one dance vignette that showed someone going to prison for their beliefs and was based on a true story.
“Even though I wasn’t familiar with the story itself, I could feel this intensity,” said Poppleton.” I love the fact that it had a happy ending though. In each little segment that there was a divine presence that would basically resurrect, [and] that we all face this great divine ending.”
Poppleton thanked the Shen Yun organization for coming to his area and encouraged anyone who has the opportunity to come see the performance.
“As I was leaving, I was [thinking], ‘Yeah, this was really an inspired spiritual message.’ If you can really tune in. I think I need to see the show again with that in mind now to grasp even more of it. It’s a show I think you could watch probably ten or 20 times and you’d still not fully understand.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Sarah Le.
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.