PHOENIX—For writer Donna Meador’s birthday, her husband, Jeff, took a chance and bought her tickets to Shen Yun Performing Arts in Phoenix, Arizona. The couple attended the final performance of the season at the Phoenix Orpheum, and her husband’s choice of gift was a big hit. Donna called Shen Yun exciting, super, fabulous, and amazing as the couple left the theater with big smiles and glowing praise.
“[Shen Yun] was a superb performance,” began Donna, who also works in the identity theft protection industry. “It was exciting for me. … My husband got this for me for my birthday so I was super excited to be here. We dressed up for it, as we always will. [The Orpheum] was a fabulous theater for my first experience, for any play actually. And, this is superb. I got to learn a lot, which I was very excited about. Gave me more empathy for what’s going on in China. So, it was really super. Thank you.”
In its mission to revive authentic Chinese culture, Shen Yun utilizes classical Chinese dance to convey the essence of the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Classical Chinese dance is a highly-expressive dance form with techniques and inner bearing that were tailor-made over China’s history to portray the deep feelings and grand pageantry of that country’s heritage.
The empathy for China that Donna appreciated came out in pieces such as “Abetting the Wicked,” a storytelling dance that is one of the 20 or so vignettes in a Shen Yun performance. The piece is about two brothers who find themselves on opposite sides of a persecution that is now happening in China against spiritual practitioners and portrays the amazing compassion and perseverance that many believers have toward those persecuting them.
Jeff, a purchasing manager for an electrical contractor in Phoenix, seemed to enjoy Shen Yun just as much as Donna did.
“Loved the performance, loved the energy,” he said. “Loved the passion of the performers. You can tell they love what they do on the stage. I was watching their facial expressions, always smiling. Like I said, [they] just loved what they were doing. You can tell that. Enjoyed it. I’ve been to a lot shows and this one of the few where every dancer was in sync with the others.”
“Oh, amazing!” Donna chimed in as Jeff described the dancers.
In addition to storytelling dances, Shen Yun presents ethnic and folk dances, as well as solo vocal performances by bel canto singers.
“It was poetry in motion, as the old saying goes,” Jeff said. “We really enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. Very impactful and something I certainly will remember for the rest of my life. I’m sure we will be back for more shows.”
One of the pieces that stood out to the Meadors most is the first piece of the performance, which depicts an ancient legend about the Creator, a belief passed down throughout China’s history.
“The other thing I really loved, we both loved, was the special effects when they would come flying in and, all of a sudden, they would jump out,” Jeff said. “Those were just wonderful. That brought the show to a whole different level than what you normally see.”
Shen Yun uses patented backdrop technology that allows its dancers to appear to fly, enter other dimensions, and travel vast distances. Audience members regularly gasp and spontaneously applaud when they see it for the first time.
The Meadors said they admired Shen Yun’s lofty mission and wished the artists even greater success in the future.
Pieces such as “Abetting the Wicked” are “exactly why this show was not allowed in China,” Jeff said. “They [the Chinese regime] would never allow a lot of truth to come out. They have to keep telling them [Chinese people] the same thing over and over and deny the Chinese people of their own culture when in fact it’s very rich and very wonderful. So I did love that aspect of it. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll be able to go over to perform [in China.]”
The birthday girl, Donna, wanted to say one last thing to the performers: “I thought it was fabulous. I loved it. Made me fall in love with you, [Shen Yun].”
With reporting by Yawen Hung and Brett Featherstone.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.