LAS VEGAS—Dr. Joshua Levin, a cultural anthropologist and professor at the College of Southern Nevada, specializes in teaching about arts and culture. He and his wife, Deborah, were among the full house in attendance Feb. 21 watching Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Dr. Levin is also an award-winning artist who won the First Place Award at the 2008 Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Collective. He believes that culture, art, and religion are closely related, and he applauded Shen Yun’s expression of spirituality through the arts.
“I really liked that,” he said. “I thought it was important that people are able to express through the arts their spirituality.”
Dr. Levin noted that oftentimes performers in large productions in the United States will shy away from any affirmations of their spirituality.
“But … that is where their spirit lives, and that is important for people to continue to do that, each in their own way,” he added.
Shen Yun is an independent, non-profit New York-based music and dance company that creates an all-new production each year as it tours throughout the world in about 20 countries and 100 cities. Its mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture.
According to Shen Yun’s website, artists have, throughout history, looked to the divine for inspiration. “Art was meant to uplift, bringing joy to both the people who created and experienced it. It is this principle that drives Shen Yun performers and their art.”
‘A stunning display of beauty from the heart’
Mrs. Levin was thrilled after seeing the performance and said Shen Yun is “a stunning display of beauty from the heart.”
“It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful,” she said. Having participated on a dance team in the past that emphasized synchronicity, she said she appreciated that of the Shen Yun dancers.
“Their precision is wonderful,” she said. “I just loved it.”
A Shen Yun performance includes a variety of short pieces, each no longer than 10 minutes, that transport audiences through China’s 5,000 years of civilization replete with myths and legends dramatized through dance. Oftentimes dozens of dancers are on stage at once.
It was difficult for Mrs. Levin to choose any particular piece she especially enjoyed “because they all were wonderful,” she said.
An integral part of Shen Yun is the vocal soloists who, while using bel canto technique and Chinese diction, reflect on life’s deeper questions.
Dr. Levin was touched by the lyrics.
“I thought it was great—the songs—those were pretty powerful words combined with the voices,” he said.
Mrs. Levin agreed. “There wasn’t any hiding it in the metaphor or anything like that. It was like ‘we’re waiting here. This is the meaning of life.’”
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.
The 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.