Chamber of Commerce CEO: Shen Yun is ‘Love and being true to thyself’

February 8, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—President and CEO of the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce, Darlene Kole, enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts so much last year, she returned to see the performance again at the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 7.

“The performance was so amazing the first time, I was anxious to see it again,” Ms. Kole said.

Her expectations were met. “The costumes, the dance, the choreography, the singing, the music, the orchestra was fabulous,” she said. Shen Yun travels with a full Western symphony orchestra, which includes Chinese instruments. This year, for the first time, the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra also toured on its own, performing classical works and its own original compositions at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and other venues.

“The orchestra was exquisite,” said Ms. Kole.

Ms. Kole said she sensed a powerful theme, “love and being true to thyself,” in the 2014 production.

New York-based Shen Yun has been touring internationally since 2006, showcasing China’s true 5,000-year culture that was almost destroyed by the communist regime in China, according to the company website.

Over eight years, Shen Yun reaches more and more people, Ms. Kole said. “The longer [they perform], the more awareness they will build,” she added.

She said she thought the artists “are educating the world, because they’re just expressing what’s true to them.”

Since 1949, the Party culture with its communist ideology suppressed China’s traditional culture, which was based on three religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The greatest harm came during the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976, when China’s heritage was desecrated, according to the Shen Yun website.

“But their own country is now denying them access back home, because they show their faith,” said Ms. Kole. Shen Yun’s artists come from around the world. Most are of Chinese descent, and many are from mainland China.

A performance like Shen Yun’s cannot yet be seen in China.

Reporting by Kerry Huang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

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.

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