ESCONDIDO, Calif.—”I didn’t anticipate that it was going to be this good, and I look forward to coming back next year,” said Kristin Taylor after attending Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company Feb. 21 at the California Center for the Arts.
“The amount of work that went into the performance was amazing,” she said. “It’s a great reminder how a performance can be so compelling without words.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun has a mission of reviving the true, divinely-inspired culture of China, which has a history of 5,000 years.
“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales,” according to the company website. “Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.”
Kristin Taylor visits Taiwan every month, as she is vice president of global public and analyst relations for a Taiwan-based company, MediaTek. She felt transported back to Asia, even as she was still a little tired from a recent flight.
“It’s extremely creative and musical, blending the spiritual aspects and the cultural parts of China.”
Ms. Taylor said her favorite instrument played during the performance was the erhu, which is not only included in the live orchestra—which incorporates both Eastern and Western instruments—but was also performed as a solo piece.
“It’s a very old instrument, and it’s interesting that with only two strings, it’s very complex. The music is very deep, romantic, spiritual,” she said. “I like it very much. It’s very distinctive in the Asian culture.”
Ms. Taylor said Shen Yun’s orchestra was “amazing,” and the colorful handmade costumes were “exemplary.”
She was pleasantly surprised by the interactive animated backdrops that serve to extend the stage and make the audience feel like they are part of the performance.
“It was magical to see the screen behind the performers, and there was a relationship between the performers and the screen,” she said. “I think it’s quite clever.”
Ms. Taylor enjoyed learning about the spiritual meditation practice called Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, and how important it is to the Shen Yun performers.
“I liked that very much, that part,” she said.
Throughout history, various cultures around the world have looked to the divine for artistic inspiration, according to the Shen Yun website.
Today, Shen Yun’s performers follow this noble tradition. It is expressed through each dance movement and musical note, providing the motivation to strive to excel in every aspect of their life, says the website.
“There’s a lot of deep culture and rich traditions and a lot of spiritual basis in what [Shen Yun does] through dance and music,” said Ms. Taylor. “I think it’s very important for us to learn this and know this.”
Ms. Taylor was happy to hear that Shen Yun produces an entirely new program each year, and she said she is eager to attend the company’s next performance in 2016.
Shen Yun is ‘Exhilarating’
A family of ten was also in Shen Yun’s audience on Saturday, including Karen Greenwood, a great-grandmother and her 88-year-old mother, a great-great-grandmother.
“The whole thing tells the story of China, and it is a fantastic thing to awaken Americans to the reality of what’s going on in this world,” said Ms. Greenwood, who manages a cattle ranch in the mountains near Escondido.
“Very uplifting, very celebrating, very exhilarating, and very educational on all levels,” said family member Tiffany Robey, a registered nurse.
Nicole Dewitt, who studied ballet from age four to twenty before attending college and becoming a mother, said, “Amazing, eye-opening, and enlightening. It was very beautiful. I thought every single part had a spiritual aspect of it … It was wonderful to watch.”
Ms. Greenwood said Ms. Dewitt became very proficient at dance, so the family knew how difficult some of the dance moves were during the performance.
“They make it look so effortless, and it’s so hard,” she said.
Ms. Greenwood was very touched by a dance piece that depicted peaceful Falun Dafa meditators being beaten by police in modern China. She said the message was very powerful.
It shows what happens when communist leaders say, “We are the god, and you can’t have your god. You have to listen to us,” she said.
Ms. Greenwood said her family feels it’s very important to teach their children current events and the truth of life.
“We have freedoms in this country: freedom of religion and expression and speech, but they don’t have that in China,” she said. “It’s very important to get that out into the world for our children.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Jane Lin, and Sarah Le
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006