CLAREMONT, Calif.—Susan Brunasso, a photographer and videographer, said she had been waiting to see Shen Yun Performing Arts for years. Tickets were either sold out, though, or there were time conflicts that kept her from going. She was thrilled, therefore, to hear that the dance and music company would be performing just 10 minutes from her home. She and her husband watched Shen Yun at Bridges Auditorium in Pomona College on April 8, 2016.
“I loved it,” she said after the performance, which was also sold out. She encourages Shen Yun performers to “keep doing the beautiful work that you are doing. And I know it is not work for these individuals. It’s love,” she said. “It’s beautiful. It’s inspiring. It’s what makes this world a better place.”
Shen Yun is a New York-based company that tours to some 100 cities in over 20 countries across five continents each year with an entirely new performance. Its mission is to revive the sublime beauty and rich, cultural heritage of China.
Theatergoers around the world have expressed awe and praise for Shen Yun’s production values, and Mrs. Brunasso had similar feelings. She enjoyed the colors and the artistry and how the music and digital backdrops were in sync with the dancers.
“It flows gorgeously,” she said.
The performance includes approximately 20 vignettes that whisk audiences on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. In each piece, performers wearing brilliantly-colored costumes are accompanied by a full, live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments. A massive, digital projection serves as a backdrop for each piece and helps audiences feel as if they are personally on the scene.
Mrs. Brunasso also enjoyed the overarching theme of good and evil as well as the spirituality portrayed throughout the performance. She said it resonated with her.
“I can’t say enough. I really enjoy seeing that aspect,” she said. “The knowledge that living good on this earth, you will go to a higher level, call it Heaven, call it whatever you want to call it, and that good will triumph.”
Mrs. Brunasso referred to the last vignette, which portrays spiritual believers being oppressed, but their steadfast faith is rewarded.
“It gives us hope,” she said. That last one—‘Hope for the future’—I really enjoyed seeing those optimistic, positive things.
“I think it is extremely relevant [today] and much needed to be reminded that if we give in to hatred and evil, we will go down that [negative path]. But if we continue to strive toward the positive and look toward the end point, that this [life] is just brief, we will all see the bigger picture,” she said.
She encourages others to see Shen Yun.
“Come out and see the show. Be amazed,” she said.
Something We Need in this Country: More Hopefulness
Rev. Dr. Alden Stroull, who is the Director of Pastoral Care, Spiritual Director, and Clinical Chaplain at multiple hospitals and a health clinic, also attended the April 8 performance, and he described it as fascinating.
“The performance is wonderful. I have been captured by the time periods in history [portrayed], and the wonder and beauty of the color which is so positive and uplifting,” he said.
Like Mrs. Brunasso, Rev. Dr. Stroull noted the theme of hopefulness in Shen Yun by referring to one piece depicting a husband who was separated from his wife and persecuted for his beliefs. The man returns home physically broken, but his faith restores his health.
“[It’s] so dynamic, and I love that in the midst of even struggle, oppression, [and] beating, as you saw in the last act, such excitement and hopefulness,” he said. This is “something we need in this country—more hopefulness.”
In addition to the positive feelings Rev. Dr. Stroull experienced, he also noticed an array of emotions from the dancers that, he believes, captures feelings that are more human than cultural.
“I’ve studied Asian culture from a spiritual perspective, … and the culture is fascinating. The drama of movement in the dance portrays not only something that is celebrated but it also captures [what] I believe is the sense of sorrow and agony that fills each of our cultures. And they do it so wonderfully. Beautiful performance,” he said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Albert Roman
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.