Business Professor Says Shen Yun is Educational, Very Inspirational, Life-Changing

April 10, 2016 6:36 pm Last Updated: April 10, 2016 8:09 pm

CLAREMONT, Calif.—On the evening of April 9, Professor Renee Willis was among a captivated audience, watching the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts at a sold-out performance at the Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College.

Professor Willis teaches business and accounting courses at Argosy University and Chaffey College.

A well-known exceptionally successful and effective consultant, Professor Willis founded and is a principal of Competitive Edge Education and Business Services, which provide business consulting, corporate workshops, and college preparation. Her company’s clients include Pacific Orthopaedics Associates, Red Ribbon, and LA Works, just to name a few.

[Shen Yun] really touched my heart.
— Professor Renee Willis

Professor Willis is also a procurement business analyst at Toyota Motor in Ontario.

Being a lecturer by trade, Professor Willis could not be clearer when articulating her feelings after watching Shen Yun’s performance.

“The performance was the best exhilarating performance I’ve ever seen. Phenomenal pageantry, creativity. And it gave me a history lesson in the culture of China. So I want to tell all of my friends, my students, my coworkers to come out and see this production. It’s life-changing. Very inspirational.”

China was once known as the “Celestial Kingdom,” a land, where the divine and mortals coexisted. The ancient Chinese believed that Chinese culture was brought down from the heavens. This divinely inspired culture had been passed on for 5,000 years until the Chinese communist regime decided to uproot it.

According to the program, “Nowhere else can you see the authentic Chinese culture that Shen Yun represents. Sadly, this culture has been almost completely destroyed in China under communist rule.”

In 2006, a group of leading classical Chinese artists from around the world founded the independent, nonprofit Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York. It aims to revive, and share with the world, traditional Chinese culture through storytelling dance and music.

Professor Willis said Shen Yun’s performance provided her with a deep understanding of traditional Chinese culture.

Shen Yun’s performance transports audience members on a journey through China’s culture and beliefs, the program described, where myths and legends come to life, and virtues such as bravery, compassion, kindness, loyalty, and perseverance are personified.

Being of African-American descent, she explained that music and dance are a part of her culture.

“Music transcends all cultures, and the fact is that for so many years, music and dance were a part of the culture,” she said. “So I think when you have music, and you have the traditions, it just breaks down all kinds of barriers and brings us all together. I loved this show. Very inspirational.”

[Shen Yun] breaks down all kinds of barriers, and brings us all together.
— Professor Renee Willis

A Shen Yun performance includes classical, folk, and ethnic dances, accompanied by digital interactive backdrops and a unique live orchestra combining Chinese and Western instruments. Additionally, there are bel canto songs sung in Chinese and instrumentalists interspersed throughout the show. All of this is enriched by the brilliant colors and textures of the 400 original, handmade costumes.

Professor Willis was thoroughly delighted by Shen Yun’s orchestra. “I absolutely love it. Lots of different styles, lots of drums, lots of string instruments, lots of horns. (I) absolutely loved the blend of the Chinese culture and the music.”

The Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra is unique because it seamlessly combines classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments. While Western instruments are used as the foundation, Chinese instruments lead the melodies.

“The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization,” states the website.

The synchronization of the dancers with music impressed Professor Willis. “I could not even believe the coordination. I mean the music just made you want to get up and dance, but the precision of the dancers was phenomenal. Very nice coordination. Loved it, loved it.”

At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance. “Known for its incredible flips and spins and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” states the website.

Professor Willis gave high praise to Shen Yun’s performers.

“Oh my! The dancers were trained. They’re very, very professional. And they looked like they were having fun in addition to telling a story through their movement,” she gushe. “Pageantry, colorful costuming at its best. I’m from New York, so I know what it takes to make it in that town. World tour. Top class. First class. I absolutely loved it.”

There was something there for everybody.
— Professor Renee Willis

Much of her rich experience with Shen Yun came from Shen Yun’s soloists and the music, Professor Willis said, “Oh my goodness! Very, very spiritual, very talented, I loved the range, baritone to soprano. You can feel the music. You can tell that they really believed in what they were singing about, which is what I like. It touched my heart, it really touched my heart.”

Professor Willis was inspired by the songs with profound lyrics, which were translated into English and projected behind the soloists.

She said, “It {Shen Yun] told a story, very truthful, again, very, very spiritual. It talks about heaven a lot. It talked about the divine inspiration, and it gave you a sense of hope through through the lyrics of the songs. So it was a lesson. It was a lesson that love and creativity, and tradition, and history can all come together for a production such as this. Loved it, loved it.”

Professor Willis expressed her appreciation to Shen Yun for its “phenomenal pageantry, the Chinese’s history and tradition” portrayed through Shen Yun’s performance.

She left the following words for everyone: “You don’t want to miss it. It’s for children. It’s for every generation, every culture, every age group. There was something there for everybody.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Thanh Le

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.