NEW YORK—Two women received a universal message of peace when they attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on Jan. 12.
“What I saw today was really the projection of peace,” said Griselle Ponce, a performer and choreographer of Latin dance in New York.
New York-based Shen Yun revives China’s rich 5,000-year-old culture, displaying ancient legends, ethnic dances, and classical Chinese dance, as well as scenes from contemporary life in China. The performances are accompanied by a traditional Western orchestra that includes Chinese instruments.
Laura Stein, the former owner of a beads jewelry business and currently a consultant for gold-mining companies, got exactly the same message—even though the two women didn’t watch the show together.
“This show could impact the world in seeking more peace and understanding of each other and of the whole world,” said Ms. Stein, who called the show a “once in a lifetime” event.
Forgiveness features prominently in the dance The Power of Compassion. Based on true events in modern China, this story depicts peaceful meditators of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline who are suddenly attacked by communist police and severely beaten.
But when an officer hurts his knee during the attack, the Falun Gong practitioners actually stop trying to flee and help the resistant officer. Moved by this compassion, the officer comes to regret his actions, leading to an unexpected blessing.
“I loved the compassion piece, that was a very nice piece, how the aggressive and peaceful, and then it just all turned to peace, and that was all very touching,” said Ms. Ponce.
Dance ‘Touching, Moving, Inspiring’
Being a dance expert, Ms. Ponce was stunned by Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance performance. “It touches you, it inspires, it motivates you. Besides peaceful, it’s this awe. You’re like ‘wow,’ and your mouth just opens up. It’s just magical.”
Classical Chinese dance combines graceful moves with more dramatic leaps and tumbling techniques. “It is able to transcend ethnic, cultural, and even linguistic barriers, taking this well-established Chinese culture and presenting its essence to the world,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Ms. Ponce especially lauded the influence classical Chinese dance had on the world of dance. “Ancient, traditional Chinese dance has all these acrobatics, and people now use it. It’s amazing to know where it comes from.”
Journey to Another World
The different ethnic dances, the different historical stories, and the music of the show gave Ms. Stein a deeply relaxing, yet educational experience.
“I certainly felt it was a journey into the past with a lot of relaxation and meditation,” she said. “It took me back to my travels to China, of the time when I went to see the Terracotta Warriors.”
Shen Yun’s story-based dances, like Monkey King and the Skeleton Demon, from the classical literary work Journey to the West, recount the legends of the ancient Chinese civilization and “convey a message or moral that is still relevant in our day,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Ms. Ponce was almost speechless as she contemplated the feeling of being transported to another place by the performance. “There’s just no words. [It took me] to another world. Out of this world.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Valentin Schmid
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.