LONDON—From father to son, from brother to brother, on stage and off, positive masculine attributes were abounding at the Jan. 19, 2020, showing of Shen Yun Performing Arts in London. One father-son duo found a story of empathy between brothers most moving among all of the storytelling dances in the performance.
Company owner Garett Voecks took his teenage son to see New York-based Shen Yun at the Eventim Apollo. “One of the reasons I came here is because [my son] is studying Mandarin and I thought this would be a great experience for him,” Voecks said.
“I thought the show was wonderful. I can’t believe how athletic all of the dancers are. It’s almost like a sporting event,” he added.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive authentic Chinese culture, which, since ancient times, has embodied such wisdom as yin and yang, the five elements, and principles such as good karma and bad karma. Through the highly-expressive art form of classical Chinese dance, with its astonishing flipping, tumbling, and spinning techniques, Shen Yun once again shares this culture with the world, along with a physicality akin to martial arts warriors.
One story in the performance, “Abetting the Wicked,” follows two brothers who become enmeshed on opposite sides of a brutal persecution in China. This story depicts real events, as the Communist Party of China has indeed carried out a violent campaign against the spiritual followers of Falun Dafa since 1999. This particular story moved Voecks deeply.
“The story about the brother, and the conflict between how he was, what was best for him, and what was best for his brother and not looking out for himself. Because that would have been easiest to have continued on and been a police officer and he gave all that away in order to help his brother.
“It really touched me. Because probably just the empathy, the empathy and looking out for somebody else’s best interests and not only your own,” Voecks said.
Shen Yun dancers work exceptionally hard to master the technique needed to achieve the feats seen on stage. According to Shen Yun’s website, “All these jumping, turning, and flipping techniques, along with the exquisiteness of the bearing and form, give classical Chinese dance special expressivity. It is able to transcend ethnic, cultural, and even linguistic barriers, taking this well-established Chinese culture and presenting its essence to the world.”
“Yes, it’s certainly very challenging. Even 30, 40 years ago I couldn’t have been able to move like they can,” Voecks said.
“It makes me feel old,” he added, with a chuckle. “Especially all the women dancers, it’s like they are gliding. It’s like they are moving by magic.”
Like he’d hoped, the father and businessman found Shen Yun’s stories and themes educational for his son.
“I think the stories are very representative, representative of the culture, the priorities of the Chinese people. They should be told around the world,” he said.
With reporting by NTD Television and Brett Featherstone.
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.