Former Ballerina Struck by Spirituality in Shen Yun

January 5, 2014 Updated: January 5, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tennessee—Mary Roudnev used to dance classical ballet, and today she runs a dance studio. So, when the curtain went up on the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, Shen Yun Performing Arts, Ms. Roudnev’s senses were heightened.

“I’m amazed at their agility; it’s great,” she said. “And most of all, their grace—the men and the women.”

Ms. Roudnev was attending the exhilarating and colorful presentation held at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 5.

“I think it’s one of the best performances that Memphis has ever seen. It’s just gorgeous,” she said.

The technique and skill of the dancers—along with the grace of their upper body movements—impressed Ms. Roudnev most.

Classical Chinese dance has a history of thousands of years, sharing a common ancestry with martial arts, reads Shen Yun’s website. Its dramatic jumping, spinning, and flipping techniques are just part of the vast repertoire of movements that make classical Chinese dance one of the most demanding and expressive art forms in the world.

“I learned a little bit more about their [faith], and on the other side of the coin, I didn’t know about the oppression going on there. So that was interesting,” Ms. Roudnev added.

Shen Yun has a mission to reawaken China’s 5,000-year-old divinely inspired cultural heritage, which has been devastated by 60 years of communist rule.

In ancient China, artists once valued integrity, meditation, and a mindful lifestyle. They took to heart the belief that to create inspiring art, there must first be inner beauty. Today, Shen Yun’s artists follow in this noble tradition, incorporating study and meditation into their rigorous daily training.

Ms. Roudnev was profoundly moved.

“That’s one of the most beautiful things that was presented in that performance—their spirituality,” she said. “I enjoyed that aspect of it very much.”

Reporting by Teresa You and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

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.