STAMFORD, Conn.—As the curtain raises on a Shen Yun performance, audience members begin a journey through time and space to experience the soul of an ancient culture said to be divinely-inspired.
Andreas and Alexandra Pizzinini came out of the journey feeling awestruck by what they just experienced.
“You just feel happy,” Alexandra said after watching the performance at The Palace Theater in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 31.
“It’s just very colorful. You’re very present. You don’t have time to think of anything else other than admiring what they’re doing,” Alexandra said.
“I was amazed too. I like the synchronicity of the dancers, the impressions, the unity of the show from beginning to end,” said Andreas.
Shen Yun Performing Arts’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture though music and dance. The New York-based classical Chinese dance company performs a new program every year which consists of stories told through dance, musical soloists, and dance vignettes.
Alexandra, a legal director at insurance company Swiss Re, enjoyed the educational aspect of the performance.
“I think it was a crash course on Chinese history,” said Alexandra.
“Everything from the dynasty, all the way to the singing and the choreography was just amazing.”
With thousands of years of stories to draw on, Shen Yun seeks to draw out the essence of China’s divinely-inspired culture and impart its wisdom to a modern audience. Traditional Chinese culture is steeped in belief of the divine, which manifested itself in every aspect of society.
Values and principles stemming from such a belief can be found in the stories and texts that have been passed down from generation to generation. These include loyalty, benevolence, righteousness, and respect, and were widely observed by Chinese people, up until it was systematically denounced during the Cultural Revolution by the Chinese Communist Party four decades ago.
Andreas, a senior consultant, said he experienced a range of emotions from the different stories told by the company.
“Some stories were more sad, some were more happy,” he said.
“But in the end, we hope that everything has a happy ending. I feel hope and a lot of joy after the show.”
Alexandra appreciated that the performance included a spiritual journey culminated in the final act, titled “The Final Moment,” which brought the audience to modern China.
“I liked the last act where they kind of linked it to today’s modern era,” she said.
“I think that was a good touch of, just kind of bring it back to reality. So it stays with you when the show ends.”
The last program depicts the suppression of adherents of spiritual group Falun Gong by the Chinese communist regime. The practice was banned in 1999, resulting in sweeping crackdown against Falun Gong practitioners, many of whom have been imprisoned, tortured, or even killed for their faith.
While the performance covered such heavy subject matter, ultimately it was a message of hope that the Pizzinini’s took away after coming out of the theater.
And also a message of beauty.
“The divine is all around us. So it’s in everybody and we saw that today,” said Alexandra.
With reporting by Sherry Dong.
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.