Shen Yun Opens Up Chinese Culture for Couple

February 27, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015
Dr. Guiford Dudley and wife Retha Dudley drove more than 80 miles from Newport to see Shen Yun perform in Little Rock on Feb. 27. (Mary Silver/The Epoch Times)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company visited historic Robinson Music Hall on Feb. 27, closing its first performance of 2012 at the theater to a standing ovation.

Dr. Guilford Dudley, an internist and his wife, Retha Dudley, a nurse practitioner, drove more than 80 miles from Newport to see the performance. The two love theater and music, attending numerous shows every year.

“They bring good shows here [Robinson Music Hall],” Mrs. Dudley said, prompting Dr. Dudley to respond: “Where else can you go and see dancing, tenors, and an orchestra like this?”

Robinson Music Hall, a dignified, Greek revival theater, was built in 1937 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. A plaque in the lobby bears a quote from FDR praising famed Arkansas lawmaker Joseph T. Robinson: “A pillar of strength is gone. A soldier has fallen with face to the battle.”

Shen Yun’s 2012 show includes a dance that seems to echo the theme of the plaque. Mu Guiying Commands the Troops tells the beloved story from Chinese history of Mu Guiying who is at first devastated when a messenger returns from war with her husband’s bloody cape, and then is stirred to command the troops herself.

The audience applauded repeatedly during that dance and others, and the applause swelled when Mu Guiying led her attendants to defend their country.

Mrs. Dudley said she was touched by the dance The Choice, in which friends meet on Tiananmen Square. In the dance, Falun Dafa followers are attacked by police, but one officer, seeing an old friend in the group, is faced with a critical choice. The dance depicts a scene from contemporary China, where the traditional spiritual practice of Falun Dafa has been persecuted by the communist regime for the last dozen years.

Dr. Dudley said he saw a theme of good versus evil in the piece, “and the good won, defeated the evil.”

“I don’t know why they [the Chinese regime] suppress that,” he said, adding that he would expect Chinese authorities to be proud of Falun Dafa.

“Nothing bad about it,” said Dr. Dudley. “It’s very good.” He also said the Shen Yun performance made him want to know more about Chinese culture.

Mrs. Dudley said that she loves the kind spirit of Chinese people, and that she saw this expressed in the way the performers stood and waved at the audience at the end, receiving the audience’s praise.

“They are just so sweet, so sweet and gracious,” she said.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company has one more performance at the Robinson Center Music Hall, in Little Rock, on Feb. 28,.

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