FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–Musician Ryan Stone was still crying during the intermission of Shen Yun Performing Arts. He said the stories portrayed in the traditional dance and music performance were very moving.
“I’m still crying,” Stone said.
The musician and his friend Savine Schooz saw Shen Yun at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 20. The New York-based company is in the midst of its 2019 tour where six equal-sized groups are performing in sold-out performances across the globe.
Schooz, a financial advisor, was also moved by Shen Yun’s stories that depict real-life human rights abuses in communist China. These stories portray themes like spiritual devotion, the benevolence of gods, good and evil retribution, and the search for the meaning of life—values that are foundational to Chinese culture and are not political in nature.
“Actually when the girl … was persecuted for her faith—it was very touching because I have a lot of faith and I’m very spiritual, and the fact that we can practice [our faith] is a privilege in this country,” Schooz said, referring to the story-based piece “Goodness in the Face of Evil” that tells the story of a girl who was persecuted for her faith in Falun Gong.
“And then I was happy to see that she got her sight back at the end. That was very very moving for me.”
Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, teaches the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,” where adherents seek to orient themselves toward self-betterment, taking responsibility, and putting others first.
In 1999, the Chinese regime launched a nationwide crackdown on the practice and has since continued to systematically persecute Falun Gong adherents in China. People who are caught practicing the discipline in China face severe persecution, including torture, imprisonment, and even death.
Unique Blend in Orchestra
Stone, who has released several hit songs, said he was paying a lot of attention to the orchestra throughout the performance because he was sitting in the front row.
“I’m into music so I like the music. I like the different instruments,” Stone said.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique, in that it blends Chinese and Western musical instruments to create a distinct yet harmonious sound. A Western orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies, according to the company. These instruments include the erhu, dizi, pipa, and suona.
According to Shen Yun, the character of Chinese instruments differ greatly to Western instruments in that they produce “euphonious sounds that may surprise the listener.”
According to the website, “The emotions that these instruments are capable of invoking are as refined and subtle as they are complex. Through the performer’s technical excellence and emotive expression, any human emotion can be depicted.”
Stone said, “I just heard different instruments at different times, and I’m into the drums, so I heard the symphony drums.”
“The Chinese instruments to me was interesting because you don’t hear that all the time. That’s why I thought it was very unique,” Stone said.
Meanwhile, Schooz said she enjoyed watching the dance. She said, “I love the choreography and the colors. They are very vivid, very vibrant, and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful performance all the way around.”
With reporting by Sally Sun.
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.