Dancer Transformed by Shen Yun

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times
January 23, 2016 12:39 am Last Updated: January 23, 2016 9:00 am

BOSTON—Suzanne Davis is an interpretive dancer who has, for the last 20 years, dedicated her dance to a higher power in performing worship and liturgical dances. Before that she trained in ballet, and says she has her roots in dance. But Ms. Davis, who saw Shen Yun Performing Arts for the second time on Jan. 22, said it was not until she saw these divinely inspired dancers that she understood how strongly faith could come through in dance.

“This has given me a new feel for making it more from the heart than what I used to do,” Ms. Davis said at the Boston Opera House opening night. Ms. Davis said she had spent three years trying to see New York-based Shen Yun and was unable to because of various things, until she saw it for the first time last year.

It transformed her dancing, and she knew she had to come back.

Suzanne Davis and her daughter enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House, on Jan. 22, 2016. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)
Suzanne Davis and her daughter enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House, on Jan. 22, 2016. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)

The dance Shen Yun performs is a form almost as old as China’s 5,000 year history. Classical Chinese dance is famously expressive, as dancers emphasize bearing, or inner spirit, in addition to form and technique.

Ms. Davis explained that while many of her own dances were worship dances, she realized the way she was performing it was more on a “personal basis” and “more praising than real heart worship dancing.”

Traditional Chinese culture is deeply rooted in the divine. China was once known as the Celestial Empire, with its culture divinely inspired. Foundational principles and beliefs of society—like wisdom and propriety, justice, benevolence, and loyalty—came from the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, the company’s website states.

The classical Chinese dance Shen Yun performs tells stories of China through the ages up through present day, and the artists take on characters like the illustrious Emperor Kangxi and Manchurian maidens of the Qing Dynasty court.

Ms. Davis said it wasn’t until she saw Shen Yun’s “performances of divine dancing” that she understood “divine culture.”

The most moving part of the performance for her came in a piece set in modern day China. Currently practitioners of Falun Gong are persecuted for their beliefs in China—traditional Chinese beliefs of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. In the dance, Ms. Davis said, a couple was tested for their faith under such persecution, but they were steadfast in their beliefs. This was what she felt came most strongly from the heart.

“It was the most beautiful show of strength in their beliefs,” Ms. Davis said.

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.