WASHINGTON—Pilates boutique owner and instructor Julie Karickhoff has been a dancer her whole life. After watching Shen Yun Performing Arts in Washington D.C. over Easter weekend, she was left awe-struck by the dancers’ grace and skill.
“I would just say thank you for bringing such an artistic form to non-dancers,” Karickhoff said.
“Because I know how hard that is and how difficult, but they make it look so easy and so seamless to the general public.”
Karickhoff, who last saw Shen Yun nine years ago in Los Angeles, was re-acquainted with the performance at The Kennedy Center Opera House in the capital on April 20.
Shen Yun is currently touring the world to tell the authentic story of China through classical Chinese dance and music. Its program consists of a variety of stand-alone segments including classical Chinese dance vignettes, vocal soloists, and stories told through dance.
Of all the dance segments, Karickhoff enjoyed the classical dance vignette titled “Porcelain in the Balance” the most. In that piece, performers dance gracefully while balancing a porcelain vase on top of their heads.
“I like … the balance because as a Pilates teacher, one of my things that I work on is balance and we do a lot of things, whether it’s balance physical or balance in life. Balance is a very important value,” she said.
Although, it was a dance-based story that left the deepest impression on Karickhoff: that depicting a young woman persecuted for her faith in today’s China.
In that story, a woman was imprisoned and tortured as a result of her belief in spiritual discipline Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. The practice was banned by the Chinese communist regime 20 years ago, after it surged in popularity and was thus perceived as a threat to the regime’s totalitarian rule. The sweeping crackdown that followed has resulted in waves of Falun Gong practitioners being imprisoned, tortured, and even killed for their belief.
Karickhoff was moved by the story’s message of forgiveness and steadfast faith.
She was also inspired by the other stories which spoke to China’s traditional values.
“I learned that the values are forgiveness, and also loyalty, and also being strong,” Karickhoff said.
The Pilates instructor was surprised to find out that the performance cannot be seen in China, saying it was a shame that the Chinese regime wants to cover up the past.
“[The Chinese regime] don’t want to enlighten people, and I think that makes people appreciate the U.S., and appreciate our democracy, and appreciate our president or our system of government even more,” she said.
Karickhoff applauded Shen Yun’s efforts in spreading traditional Chinese culture to audiences of all backgrounds around the world.
“[Shen Yun is] making people intrigued by what is Chinese history? What is China’s values and morals? It’s teaching the people what China knows, and now they are spreading that to the world.”
With reporting by Jenny Jing.
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.