MINNEAPOLIS—For couple Karen Johnson and Tony Jones, the Shen Yun Performing Arts brought more than just dance, music, and song. It brought a higher level of spiritual enrichment that they found “breathtaking,” “elegant,” and “very exciting.”
Karen Johnson, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) accountant with Honeywell, and Tony Jones, an Information Technology Manager attended the Saturday evening performance of Shen Yun at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis.
The couple was particularly stunned by the spiritual side of Shen Yun. Spirituality was a strong part of ancient and traditional Chinese culture until about 60 years ago when China became a communist country and eliminated traditional beliefs and customs, sometimes violently, over the following decades.
Shen Yun aims to revitalize China’s 5,000-years old traditional culture, according to their website.
Mr. Jones described as “excellent” the orchestra’s mixture of Western and traditional Chinese elements. Shen Yun has a full, Western orchestra into which are integrated Chinese instruments, producing a unique sound.
“I thought it blended so well because the music and dance went right together,” said Ms. Johnson. “It all flowed perfectly! It was very good.”
Moreover, the music of Shen Yun gave the couple “a very friendly” and lighthearted feeling according to Ms. Johnson. While Mr. Jones reported that it was “very spiritual.”
For Ms. Johnson, the spiritual side of Shen Yun was bittersweet. On one hand there is the rich cultural heritage of the Chinese people, in this case expressed through dance and music, while on the other hand there is the current cultural suppression in China under the current communist regime. She found this darker side of modern China “depressing.”
“The culture changed and it was, I thought, very depressing,” added Ms. Johnson. “That they would do such a thing to take away their culture and make it so people couldn’t appreciate it in their own country. It’s such a beautiful style, and it’s a beautiful expression of the way life is, and then to have that squelched just kind of depressed me.”
Ms. Johnson describes herself as a spiritual person and found particular spirituality in the soloists who sing usually with a piano accompanying them. The soloists sing in Chinese and projected on the backdrop behind them is the English translation.
“I thought it was great where they did the actual interpretation of the Chinese vs. the English so we could understand what they were saying,” added Ms. Johnson.
“It brought out their spirituality and their inner feelings,” continued Ms. Johnson. “Where their lives were and that they wish they could go back, and obviously they can’t. The other thing I thought was interesting was the fact that they believe we came from heaven and [want] to go back to heaven, that I thought was just uplifting!”
For Mr. Jones, the spiritual side also showed itself in another way, in something he described as “the search for peace and harmony.”
“Watching a show like this helps you realize that the things we found important in life are not the things which are important,” he continued. “So the things which are important are the inner feelings and spirituality. When you have a combination of good story, good music, and good performance, combine those together, you can’t help but come away feeling enlightened.”
Reporting by Nancy Ma and Paul Darin
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.