HOUSTON—The spinning pinks, glittering oranges, and the unique contrasting of colors in Shen Yun Performing Arts were like little gems of inspiration for JoAnn Luco.
“Every one of them is so beautiful,” said Ms. Luco, a retired tax account and formerly Houston Masters Sports Association president, who spends her time making art dolls.
“The costumes are so ethereal … they’re just so beautiful,” Ms. Luco said at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec. 24. “The way they make their costumes move, with the steps, it adds so much, it’s just a wonderful experience.”
Seeing New York-based Shen Yun, she was filled with thoughts of little gems, “little fairies, elves,” and other characters tumbling and spinning. The performance was a Christmas present for Ms. Luco and her daughter. The performance is beautiful by all accounts according to her description, but the experience was also a sad one as she learned Shen Yun could not perform in China.
“It’s a shame that this cannot be displayed in China. It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart,” Ms. Luco said.
That is why Shen Yun seeks to revive traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. It is a culture steeped in values like benevolence, justice, wisdom and propriety—principles that come from the religions Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
However, when the communist regime in China came into power, it sought to destroy traditional Chinese culture like classical Chinese dance and the inner meanings found in mini-dramas performed by Shen Yun today.
The spiritual aspect of the culture is inseparable from the culture’s art forms, and that spirituality was also what Amnu Rajendran and her parents so enjoyed in the long anticipated performance.
Ms. Rajendran said she could tell the dancers were conveying those spiritual values, and those values were “the soul of the performance.”
“You feel like you’ve gone to this other world or something,” Ms. Rajendran said. “I wasn’t really paying attention to anything that was going on around me, I was with the artists.”
She was zoned into the performance and said “the message was obvious.”
“We’re able to relate to the basic message which is that good always comes above the evil,” Ms. Rajendran said.
Her mother agreed and said the lyrics of baritone Qu Yue’s solo conveyed that message for her. She laid a hand over her heart, describing how touching it was to hear him sing about life and reflection.
“Life is beyond this earth,” she said.
Heaven, and the Soul of the Performance
The 5,000 years of Chinese civilization was nearly lost, now it is being revived again, on stage, by Shen Yun. Audience members from various backgrounds find the old culture so familiar.
“From 5,000 years ago,” said theatergoer Laura Lee Hedrick. “The beginning of the culture.”
Mrs. Hedrick saw the performance for the first time with her husband Frank, and the two promised to be back.
The performance began with a scene from thousands of years ago, with the myth of the Creator setting into motion the beginning of Chinese civilization. The spiritual aspect of the culture is woven through the performance, and easy to follow, according to Mrs. Hedrick.
She saw that aspect in the dances and stories, and that it was similar to the Western spiritual culture. “That if you show love and compassion and if you’re a good person that you’ll go to heaven,” Mrs. Hendrick said.
And of the visuals, the couple couldn’t get enough.
“It was mesmerizing and fantastic, and I look forward coming again to see it year after year. I’m definitely coming back next year,” Mrs. Hedrick said.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful performance. It exceeded our expectations, it’s our first time so we’ll definitely be back,” Mr. Hedrick said.
Reporting by NTD Television, Sonia Wu, and Catherine Yang
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.