WASHINGTON, D.C.—When people see that Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to show the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, they are often surprised to learn the company isn’t from China.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed by artists from around the world—many originally from China—who wanted to share the authentic traditional culture with the world.
“It is very inspiring,” said Christine Williams, a lawyer, who attended a performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House with her husband Richard on Feb. 19. The couple found the performance to be educational and artistic. “It was beyond my imagination.”
“Just the bravery that you see in each performance, the story underlying each performance,” Mrs. Williams said. “Tradition, and bravery, love, family, just very core values, they come through in each performance.”
Such is the traditional culture that Shen Yun has made it its mission to share, and the company does so through the universal languages of music and dance.
And it was eye-opening, the couple said, because it’s such a departure from modern day China.
“Most of our lifetime … we’ve seen communism, right? So, seeing something different is better,” said Mr. Williams, an economist and vice president of policy research at the George Mason University Mercatus Center. And seeing the spiritual side of China, the culture of a nation before communism took power, opened up “the possibility that communism in China doesn’t have to last forever.”
“I feel like they [Chinese Communist Party] will lose control. As long as people are doing things like this, eventually communism may disappear in China, and there will be a much better country, a country it used to be, perhaps, only better,” he said. The Soviet Union’s regime eventually killed itself, and Mr. Williams said it was inevitable China’s regime would bring its own demise. “I hope it will be in my lifetime,” he added.
Mrs. Williams was heartened to see that there is resistance to the totalitarian regime in today’s world, as demonstrated in one of the stories Shen Yun performed. People of a spiritual faith are seen holding onto the values of the traditional culture in China today. And even through adversity and hardship, she saw them holding on and persevering, ultimately prevailing at the end.
“It is very inspirational,” she said. “It just tells a lovely story of perseverance and bravery.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Catherine Yang
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.
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.