THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.–Emmy Award-winning actress Lindsay Wagner couldn’t pick one just aspect of Shen Yun Performing Arts that she liked. That is because she enjoyed them all as a whole.
“The long sleeves, that dance was just amazing, utilizing the costume and all of that was just exquisite,” Wagner said. “The scenery was just magnificent too. Sometimes it would pull my eye even away from the dancers. The images they had in the past, and that technique of having them disappear down and come up onto the screen was so fresh and unique. It was beautiful.”
The actress, who is best known for her leading role in the television drama “The Bionic Woman,” saw Shen Yun with her son Alex at the Fred Kavli Theatre during the matinee on April 3. The New York-based company is touring the world with a mission to bring back China’s 5,000 years of semi-divine culture that was nearly lost after seven decades of communist rule.
Freedom to Express
Wagner said she has studied many different ancient cultures in the past and it was nice to see some of that on stage. She was also pleased to see Shen Yun boldly expressing the difficulties and oppression occurring in modern China, like the persecution of Falun Gong.
“I’m really pleased to see that you are expressing the pain of what’s going on right now,” Wagner said. “The difficulty—it’s happening all over the world. It’s obviously not just in China. It’s going on right here, in our own way–the oppression of our individual beliefs and instead of accepting that everyone can have different beliefs.”
“I was so happy to see that being expressed but also that, again I’ve done a lot of studying with different cultures, their spirituality, their healing modalities, and it was really nice to see stories where people reach to the higher power for healing, and for redemption and renewal,” she added.
Her son Alex agreed. He said, “At least have a community that supports you and be able to express yourself, and what’s going on within your own world is actually great.”
Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, teaches the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,” and adherents seek to orient themselves toward self-betterment, taking responsibility, and putting others first.
But the Chinese communist regime launched a nationwide crackdown on the practice in 1999 and has since continued to systematically persecute Falun Gong adherents in China. People who are caught practicing the discipline in China face severe persecution, including torture, imprisonment, and even death.
Shen Yun depicts several pieces about the persecution, which portray themes like spiritual devotion, the benevolence of gods, good and evil retribution, and the search for the meaning of life, according to the company’s website. These values are foundational to traditional Chinese culture and are not political in nature. Instead, they inspire audience members and seek to encourage them to reflect on the modern world.
Wagner added she was impressed by the performers’ storytelling skills and their ability to express emotion through their choreography.
“We were talking about how without any words they tell such a potent story, that you don’t even realize there are no words,” she said. “You get the whole story from the music, from the motion, from the expressions. The choreography, of course, is doing so much if it.”
The actress said she would recommend Shen Yun to other people to come and see.
“It’s just stunning on every level. Physically, musically, the music was incredible. It’s just so hard to pick out just one thing here or there, the whole way it all fit together,” Wagner said.
With reporting by Yaning Liu.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.