Historian Marvels at China’s Ancient History Presented on Stage by Shen Yun

December 24, 2015

HOUSTON—”It was a revelation,” said Dr. Manuel Urbina after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts. “A revelation of the creative spirit that humans have—that [Shen Yun] artists have—to share their artistry and their creativity with all of us. There is a connection there—a spiritual connection.”

Dr. Urbina, a historian, legal scholar, and a retired professor, had the pleasure of seeing New York-based Shen Yun on Christmas Eve at Houston’s Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.

As a historian, Dr. Urbina has spent a large part of his life studying Texas and Mexico’s history. Dr. Urbina eventually compiled documents and artifacts from over three decades of research into a private museum, the Museo Urbina de Historia de Mexico, in Pasadena. Just last year, Dr. Urbina retired from his position as a history professor at the College of the Mainland, after having taught there for 47 years.

Because of his love of history, Dr. Urbina had a unique appreciation for Shen Yun’s portrayal of ancient Chinese stories and traditions. Shen Yun, a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company, strives to revive China’s divine culture and showcase these ancient traditions to audiences worldwide. Because traditional Chinese culture was largely destroyed in China in the past few decades, Shen Yun seeks to bring back the wonders of ancient Chinese culture, allowing people worldwide to witness the profound cultural and spiritual values treasured throughout China’s history.

Dr. Urbina was particularly moved by Shen Yun’s presentation of 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Being Mexican-born, Dr. Urbina actually began to ponder about the connections he felt between the ancient Chinese and Mayan cultures, both of which have rich histories. “It touches my heart in a special way, knowing the ancient cultures that can still be seen today,” he said.

Like many audience members, Dr. Urbina was stunned not only by the beautiful classical Chinese dancing and music but also by the deep, spiritual connections he felt within the show. Watching the Shen Yun performers, he reflected about the steadfastness of the human spirit he saw within them. With great emotion, he commented, “The human feelings that have transcended thousands of years are still with us.”

We all have that spirit that is given to us, the divine spirit.
— Dr. Manuel Urbina

For Dr. Urbina, Shen Yun overcame cultural boundaries and evoked within him a profound appreciation of diversity. “We all have that spirit that is given to us, the divine spirit,” Dr. Urbina said, “That’s what makes it so beautiful. We can all share on this, regardless of whether we are Chinese or Mexican.”

The performance even evoked memories and nostalgia for an old Chinese college friend. “It reminds me of his culture, on a personal level.” Dr. Urbina said warmly, as he chuckled and reminisced about their old times together.

As an avid trumpet player, he said he also enjoyed the music in the performance tremendously.

“I am very delighted to see a live orchestra performing this with this special musical drama,” he said, referring to Shen Yun’s unique orchestra that combines traditional Chinese instruments with Western instruments. The orchestra accompanies the dance performances with original compositions.

For Dr. Urbina, Shen Yun perfectly complemented the holiday season. “The spirit of Christmas is peace and good will toward all men.” Shen Yun perfectly projected this good will, this human spirit, this “peace in our hearts,” he said.

Reporting by Sherry Dong and Irene Luo

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.