Barbara Barrett, the former U.S. ambassador to Finland, said she enjoyed seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on Feb. 20.
“It’s wonderful to see this extraordinary performance and to learn a bit about the Chinese culture at the same time,” said Barrett. “We’re thrilled to be here.”
New York-based Shen Yun was founded in 2006 to revive traditional Chinese culture, which was founded on a deep connection with the divine. Traditional Chinese culture was steeped in the religions of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, a recurring theme in Shen Yun’s dances and music.
Steve Kates is a television and radio host who focuses on topics such as astronomy and aerospace. He can be seen him on a regular basis on programs such as Fox 10′s “Arizona Morning.” He also saw the performance in Phoenix and said he appreciated its spiritual overtones.
“The way I look at Shen Yun, is this heavenly experience. I have never seen in my life so many amazing dancers, so many amazing and beautiful costumes, and so many amazing ways that we can share the spirituality of beautiful dance. I think it’s so important,” he said.
“It brings out so much of the spirituality that I think this world needs right now with all the things that are going on in the world today.”
China was once known as the “divine land,” where divine beings and mortals coexisted. After the communists came to power in 1949 and instituted campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, they chipped away at China’s 5,000-year-old culture by breaking people’s belief in the divine.
“The history of China goes back probably as one of the oldest civilizations in the world. And I think it’s so important for people to experience what that history and culture is all about,” said Kates.
“The costumes are extraordinary, and the history and the culture that we learn about means a lot to us,” said Barrett.
Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance and a live orchestra with both Eastern and Western instruments to revive that reverence for the divine, showing people China’s true heritage.
“And I think it makes me feel simply this when I leave here. That I’ve had an uplifting experience about human spirituality, the need for each and every person out there to look deep inside themselves, because maybe what we think in this world is so important to us, maybe isn’t all that important,” he added.
“I’ve been to a lot of shows in my life, and this is the best ever,” said Walter Gray, the former mayor of Canadian city Kelowna. “We came back a second time this year to see if it was just the mood we were in one year ago. It’s the best ever. We’ll be back again.”