How Shen Yun Performing Arts Affected Houston Audiences

December 27, 2015

HOUSTON—Reactions run the gamut for Shen Yun Performing Arts audience members. Some don’t understand why there are suddenly tears streaming down their faces, some stand to clap mid-performance in jubilation, others carry feelings of immense gratitude after seeing the music and dance performance.

There is something about Shen Yun that is hard for theatergoers to put into words, but the descriptions they give are telling.

Epoch Times talked to audience members on the evening of Dec. 26 at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, halfway through New York-based Shen Yun’s 12-performance run in Houston.

(Sarah Guo/Epoch Times)
Sarosha Hmani and her parents enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts at Houston’s Jones Hall on Dec. 26, 2015. (Sarah Guo/Epoch Times)

“There were some moments where both me and my dad got goosebumps,” said dancer Sarosha Hmani. She tried to describe how beautifully Shen Yun presented the tales that included loss, hope, and a touch of the divine. “I cannot describe it in words, but I can still feel it.”

‘The name Shen Yun’

Kimberly White, a makeup artist, called it a “spiritual awakening.”

“The colors, the energy from the dancers, they evoke something,” Ms. White said. “It’s almost like they compel you when they dance.

“I think it’s just a little hard to put into words. But I think that it goes back to the name Shen Yun, where it’s like you can feel something deeper in how they dance. So it’s just energetic, it’s colorful, and it’s brilliant.”

According to Shen Yun’s website, the name Shen Yun means “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”

So many layers in the performance.
— Gemma Hart

Gemma Hart, a fine arts student, felt an array of emotions. At times she was crying, and at others she was laughing. “It’s really nice, the moments of comedy, and then also heartstrings being pulled furiously as well.” Even though there were no words to describe it, she was able to enjoy story after story.

“I think it’s the kind of show you can watch six times and see different things each time you see it because there’s just so many layers in the performance,” Ms. Hart said. 

Gabrielle Dequire and Telaloc Lopez enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts in Houston on Dec. 26, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch TImes)

Gabrielle Dequire, a sales associate, was completely overwhelmed—shocked, even, at the beauty of something “very peaceful, relaxing, and really wise.”

“I think it’s beautiful and I love the fact that I am getting a peek at the beautiful culture and the history behind it too. So I’m awed, I’m overwhelmed, by how beautiful it is, with the music and with the dancing, with the clothes and colors, everything,” Ms. Dequire said. “I felt like I had a glimpse of the culture and the life and the history.”

In that glimpse into ancient China, she could see that “they really cherish life.” In the dances, the presence of deities and gods throughout “shows me that they’re really faithful; they’re really spiritual.”

“The whole time, just wow. I was smiling the whole time. I was so excited,” Ms. Dequire said. 

Sandra and Bob Gronberg at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in Houston on Dec. 26, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)
Sandra and Bob Gronberg at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in Houston on Dec. 26, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)

Sandra Gronberg, who teaches voice and piano and who used to dance with the Boston Ballet as well, saw the performance with her father Bob Gronberg. The two picked the word “mesmerized” to describe their reaction.

She noticed the vocalists’ great breath control, and the precision of the dancers’ movements down to their ribbons. It was “spot on,” she said, and “one of the best shows I’ve seen in a really long time.”

James Alexander, owner of a digital marketing agency, said it was “exhilarating to watch.”

“It is an extraordinary show that everyone should see,” Mr. Alexander said. “They will feel better about the world, they will feel better about things, they will feel [better] about the Chinese culture.”

“[It has an] uplifting effect on people, I think,” he said. 

Reporting by Sarah Guo 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.

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.