WASHINGTON D.C.—Holly Horning, a former classical ballet dancer, watched Shen Yun Performing Arts at The Kennedy Center Opera House on Jan. 24. Though it has been many years since she has danced professionally, Ms. Horning said she still appreciates and studies dance, and can still “tell the different levels of dance and companies.” She was impressed by what Shen Yun presented.
“It’s exquisite, it was top-notch,” said Ms. Horning. “The extension, the air time, just the length that dancers create with their arms and their legs and the attitude—it was just beautiful.”
“The show is wonderful. As a former classical ballet dancer, I really appreciated the dance, the technique, the extension, everything was just exquisite.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by leading Chinese artists and quickly became the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture and to show its audiences the beauty of China before the communist rule.
According to Shen Yun’s website, China was once known as “the Land of the Divine,” and the Chinese people believed that their culture was a gift from the heavens. The roots of traditional Chinese culture lie in the spiritual teachings of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, but these teachings were abolished when the atheist communist regime took power in 1949. The Communist Party’s oppression of spirituality is depicted in one of the story-based dances in Shen Yun’s program, which shows the government’s persecution of followers of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Scott Cameron, an independent management consultant who attended Shen Yun with Ms. Horning, said he appreciated “the commentary on what’s happening in communist China now. It wasn’t heavy-handed, but it was good to hear and understand.”
Mr. Cameron said he enjoyed the spiritual elements of Chinese culture, and that through the performance, he learned “that Chinese culture is ancient and beautiful, and unfortunately, it’s been suppressed by the current regime.”
Regarding the spiritual elements, Ms. Horning added, “I think it’s well put. I think it’s especially timely today because there are a lot of questions about spiritual nature and the divine element. We’re losing a lot of that today, so it’s good to be able to have that reintroduced, to remind us.”
“This [Shen Yun] is a must-see,” said Ms. Horning. “Between the music and the dance and just the culture, and I think especially to the significance about the past, what’s going on now, and the future, it’s very timely.
Reporting by Weiyong Zhu and Wandi Zhu.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.