COSTA MESA, Calif.—Retired judge for the Superior Court of Orange County, California, Jim Gray, attended a sold out showing of Shen Yun Performing Arts Friday, April 15, 2016 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Judge Gray was the 2003 U.S. Senate candidate in California for the Libertarian Party, and in 2012 he was nominated as the vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.
Judge Gray is on a number of advisory boards regarding juvenile law and drug and alcohol programs, and he is the author of multiple books as well as a musical.
After the performance, he described Shen Yun as beautiful and expressed his admiration for the performers: “They’re very, very competent, very skilled, [and] very dedicated,” he said.
He was struck by the seemingly endless display of costumes. “Oh, the costumes! They’re unfailing; they were gorgeous,” he said.
Shen Yun is a New York-based, classical Chinese dance and music company that tours to over 100 cities across five continents each year.
Each performance includes approximately 20 vignettes that serve as a window into Chinese history, culture, and values that colorfully resurrect ancient legends of glory, mythical tales of devotion, and modern stories of steadfast faith.
In each piece, performers wear brilliantly-colored costumes of various dynasties from emperors, ministers, and generals to everyday clothing of the common people.
Shen Yun’s website describes that the costume designers’ objective is to create an “authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired, traditional culture, and [create] a consummate stage effect.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the resplendent beauty and traditional values of ancient China, a culture that endured continuously for five millenia.
Judge Gray described Shen Yun’s mission as wonderful, authentic, and good. “I think it’s great to see,” he said.
He also noticed the significance of spirituality in Chinese civilization.
“I thought that the spiritual [element] was a really important part of the presentation,” he said. “Of course, the spiritual is a very important part of life.”
Since ancient times, China was known as “Shen Zhou,” or “Divine Land.” It was a place where the divine and mortals coexisted. People expressed reverence for the heavens, and imbued in Chinese culture was the belief that Heaven, earth, and mankind should strive to be in harmony.
The emphasis of spirituality, however, is antithetical to the Chinese Communist Party’s doctrine, which has forcefully proscribed atheism to China’s populace since its founding in 1949. For this reason, Shen Yun, despite achieving critical acclaim and selling out venues worldwide, is not allowed to perform in China.
Two pieces in the performance depict the ongoing persecution of Falun Dafa, a meditation discipline with upwards of 100 million practitioners in China. In one piece entitled “The Steadfast Heart,” a husband and wife are separated and he is tortured because he refuses to renounce his faith. They later reunite, and with her support and his unyielding belief, he recovers, and they resume their contented life.
Judge Gray feels that justice is important everywhere, and he salutes Shen Yun performers.
“I wish that China was involved more with human rights,” he said. “I think that this accent on human rights and [spirituality] and what’s true in the world is a really important part of this show, and I’m proud of them for it.”
Reporting by Jenny Liu and Albert Roman
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.
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.