PHOENIX—Charlotte Kraus celebrated her 75th birthday on Saturday by attending Shen Yun Performing Arts for the second time, with friends at the Orpheum Theatre.
“I just love the theater, and I love music, and I love Shen Yun,” said Ms. Kraus, a retired teacher and counselor, who also used to direct school plays.
Shen Yun has been creating followers around the world since its founding in New York in 2006. Designed to revive the genuine, divinely-inspired culture of China, a Shen Yun performance takes audience members on a lively and fascinating journey of the 5,000 years of Chinese history through spectacular music and dance.
Saturday’s performance left Ms. Kraus “uplifted, inspired, and happy” for her birthday.
“I feel very thrilled to have experienced this opportunity to see such professional artists displaying their love of theater and their love of the Chinese culture,” she said.
A Shen Yun performance focuses on Chinese classical dance, telling stories of ancient legends, modern heroic tales, and the many ethnic groups throughout the Chinese region. Shen Yun’s renowned orchestra combines a full Western-style orchestra with traditional Chinese instruments for a unique and special accompaniment to the dances.
Vibrant costumes, musical soloists, and an interactive digital backdrop combine together for a one-of-a-kind experience.
“The costumes—magnificent!” said Ms. Kraus, commenting on the vivid colors and the flowing nature of the dancers’ clothing. She said it also seemed like the dancers themselves were floating.
“They looked like they were on ice—such grace. And the precision, that was the other thing. There was such precision with all of the movements.”
Ms. Kraus has been to China and recognized many of the notable locations pictured in the backdrop projected behind the performers, such as the Great Wall and the Imperial City.
“Not only is it artistic, but it also has a philosophy,” said Ms. Kraus. “That’s what I love about this, because it is also spiritual.”
Ms. Kraus said a friend of hers passed away just days before the performance. However, the divine scenes carried out on stage gave her the distinct impression that his spirit lives on and this gave her much comfort.
“I know that there is another life somewhere else, I believe, an eternal life,” she said. “When he was on this earth, he was a very special man, and he was a very righteous person. I know that he is up there in the sky, in a beautiful place.”
Shen Yun’s performers are motivated to excel through this spiritual connection in their daily lives, according to the Shen Yun website. This is the heart behind every single dance movement or musical note.
“It is why audiences can feel there is something different about Shen Yun,” says the website. “Their source of inspiration, rooted in traditional Chinese culture, is the spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa.”
However, Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, has been severely persecuted in China for over a decade. Practitioners have been harassed, detained and imprisoned, and even lost their lives. This tragedy is addressed during the performance through scenes of heartbreak, yet everlasting hope.
Ms. Kraus said she’s very glad Shen Yun is able to tell the world about what is happening now in China, because many people don’t realize it.
“I think this message needs to go out to everyone,” she said, saying this kind of spiritual message conveyed through art is the essence of humanity, even our true purpose for living.
And Ms. Kraus had her own message for the creators of Shen Yun: “Don’t quit! Keep doing this all over the world,” she said. “This is something that no one should miss!”
Reporting by NTD Television and Sarah Le
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.