CHICAGO—Shen Yun Performing Arts finished its Chicago run on Sunday afternoon, April 22, at the Civic Opera House.
Warren Lavey and Holly Rosencranz were in the audience. Mr. Lavey is a Senior Law Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Harvard Law School. His wife, Holly, is a physician. They shared their impressions during the intermission.
“Spiritual and philosophically stirred and inspired by it,” Ms. Rosencranz said, adding that she “felt almost a personal connection.”
Shen Yun, which translates as “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” carries the profound meaning that art is a means of connecting with the higher universe, a concept inspired by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, at a time when these belief systems were strong in China.
Though many of Shen Yun’s dance legends reflect the rich and diverse cultural landscape of ancient China, they also tell stories of contemporary life in the country. The dances express the artists’ longing for their traditional culture, and real-life tales of life under an authoritarian state.
“I actually came tearful at one point when I saw the contemporary examples of violence and I was very inspired by the sort of spirituality of it,” Ms. Rosencranz said.
“Goodness should always outweigh evil, and I thought the message of freedom and choice was very strong.”
“I thought that the contemporary dancers were really very well done and very graceful movement—it really got the message through,” Mr. Lavey said.
Ms. Rosencranz commented on the songs during the performance, and said she thought the lyrics were very relevant today.
“I would paraphrase the lyrics by saying that I think they were sending a message of finding inner peace and doing the right thing—being motivated by goodness and don’t lose track of our original purpose and goodness … You know I think returning home is returning to one’s basic roots of goodness. I think it assumes that man is basically good and maybe it’s too easy to be lost, and we must return to our basic goodness, and it’s goodness to each other and to the planet.”
Mr. Lavey said he enjoyed all the performances, and was surprised that so many of the songs were about the Divine.
“It makes you feel that 5,000 years of Chinese culture will eventually overcome the way that China is currently, and that it will be a more peaceful, more spiritual country.”
Reporting by Catherine Wen and Rebecca Hunnisett.
Upcoming performances in the United States include Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 24, and Columbus, Ohio, on April 26-27.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org