WASHINGTON—American filmmaker Anthony Greene usually thinks culture comes through most vividly in film. It was different for him when he experienced a Shen Yun performance. “To actually get to see it live and see the culture be represented by its people in the States is a wonderful thing,” Mr. Greene said of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Jan. 23.
“You can really get to feel how wonderful it is to be able to hold on to that part of history, and to see really the culture itself be preserved by the beautiful dance,” Mr. Greene said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was established by artists from around the world in 2006, to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the performing arts.
Through the different art forms he saw on stage: dance, an orchestra blending East and West, an animated backdrop, beautiful costumes–Mr. Greene said he had an exciting experience. “Beautiful pageantry. The dances are incredibly skillful. The set designs, the costuming is beautiful,” he said. “The audiovisual component makes it really enthralling and you can really get into it.”
From the moment the curtain went up, he felt “an instant connection,” Mr. Greene said.
“The Chinese culture is filled with beauty, filled with elegance, filled with grace,” Mr. Greene said.
Mr. Greene saw the faiths and beliefs that he believed made China strong to begin with. China, once called the “Celestial Empire,” believed its culture was passed down from the divine.
Mr. Greene felt Shen Yun was a reminder and a message to modern China, and said, “let’s hold on to the things that made us a beautiful nation to begin with.”
Cheryl Greene, a dancer, attended the performance with Mr. Greene. Ms. Greene had wanted to see Shen Yun for a while now, and was glad she could make it this year.
“From the moment the curtain opened … It was beautiful. It was awe,” Ms. Greene said. “This is amazing.”
The loss of China’s traditional culture under communist rule was a revelation for Ms. Greene, who said she now wants to learn more about it.
“I loved the stories. I love dances that tell stories, and they definitely told stories in each piece,” Ms. Greene said.
Watching Shen Yun inspired Ms. Greene to try some of the classical Chinese dance movements she’d witnessed. “Very fluid, very beautiful, great choreography,” Ms. Greene said. “I love everything.”
Mr. Greene, who is working on a stage show, said he definitely felt inspired.
“A lot of great ideas come from this show,” Mr. Greene said.
Seeing Shen Yun in person left an impression on Mr. Greene. It’s different from watching a film, he said.
“When you get to have it live … It becomes more a part of your everyday life,” Mr. Greene said. “‘I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I’ve seen the movement, I experienced it, I’ve been in a room and watched this beautiful thing unfold’ … it makes it stronger.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Catherine Yang
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.
The 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.