DETROIT—Do the traditional ways of an ancient world have a place in our world today? Apparently they do.
At least Shen Yun Performing Arts, a traditional Chinese music and dance company currently performing at the Detroit Opera House, does.
“By virtue of being here—and it’s based in New York, [Shen Yun] shows that it has found its place in the world by the virtue of its popularity. It speaks for itself,” said Steve Rychman, a sales manager at CBS television said, after seeing the performance on Feb. 6 with his wife, Julie, an oil painter.
Mr. Rychman felt the performance was uplifting. “It has been very refreshing,” he said.
Shen Yun aims to restore traditional values from China’s 5,000 year civilization and present them to the world through classical Chinese dance and songs that express a longing for the divine, a once cherished belief.
“There are people who are able to know the ancient arts and still can perpetuate them,” Ms. Rychman said. She wants to keep the Chinese culture alive, fearing that when cultures are lost instead of preserved—which seems to be happening as the internet and TV become our standard fare, “it’s important for each culture to maintain its identity.”
The fact that Shen Yun exists means that an ancient culture hasn’t “been lost to time,” Mr. Rychman said.
This traditional Chinese culture was almost lost through years under the communist rule, as the website explains: “The Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) was catastrophic for China’s traditional culture. During this unprecedented massive political movement, China’s 5,000-year-old culture was almost entirely wiped out.”
Because China is officially communist and powerful now, Ms. Rychman said, it was brave of Shen Yun to tour and reveal the spiritual side of the Chinese people.
While Ms. Rychman was impressed by the Shen Yun’s brave efforts, Leah Fairfax, was deeply touched.
Ms. Fairfax, who was once a ballerina, also attended the Feb. 5 performance, and came with her husband, who works for Leo Burnett.
Feeling touched by Shen Yun “through my soul,” the performance “makes me want to cry because it is so beautiful,” she said.
Mrs. Fairfax was in the second wave of American students accepted by the Bolshoi Ballet company, and studied there in the early ’90s.
Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance has one of the most comprehensive training for dancers in the world.
Of note for Ms. Fairfax were the masculine and feminine aspects of the dance as expressed through the music. She also felt intrigued that she couldn’t hear the dancers moving. “They were just so light,” she said.
As for being touched, at some point in the performance, “just the vibrancy and the color,” allowed her to “feel that opening of the heart. You know, my own heart personally,” she said.
Mr. Fairfax, on the other hand, was thinking about the repression by the communist party and that Shen Yun had endured.
“Still the Cultural Revolution,” he said, but noted that “one thing you can be sure of, things will change.”
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006