GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—William Rysdyk found “some of the storytelling, the stories, the music, the Buddhist culture—some of those ancient beliefs of the Chinese people of many years ago—I found that very interesting.”
He and his wife Sue had just seen Shen Yun Performing Arts at the DeVos Performance Hall on Wednesday night, Feb. 12.
The New York-based Shen Yun aims to revitalize traditional Chinese culture through its arts and its values, which have been all but lost under Communist rule, according to the company’s website.
Since her daughter has studied ballet for years, Ms. Rysdyk found special enjoyment in the dance and costuming of the classical Chinese dance and music company.
“I think there is some good education; it exposes you to a different culture,” she said.
Of the dances Shen Yun performs, some are ethnic dances that show the breadth of Chinese culture. Others rely on classical Chinese dance, known for its technically demanding flips, spins, and leaps.
Mr. Rysdyk, CFO for Request Foods, studied Chinese history a bit in college, and so he found the ancient culture interesting to see onstage.
Shen Yun’s dances depict stories of ancient legends and myths, as well as stories of contemporary times.
Mr. Rysdyk also felt that the dances “evoked the changes in China from then to now and just how very much the culture has changed in China,” he said.
Noting that Shen Yun cannot perform in China today, he added: “Reliving the history and celebrating the history now is very, very much prohibited in modern day China—I think that’s sad.”
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski
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.