TAIPEI, Taiwan—As the renowned, New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts is touring the world and reviving the 5,000 years of the traditional Chinese culture, more and more mainland Chinese people come to Taiwan especially to see the performance.
Deeply touched by the authentic Chinese culture which has been lost in China, lots of them were stunned and impressed by the contemporary stories depicted in Shen Yun because they had either experienced or witnessed similar stories.
‘One of A Kind in the World’
Mr. Lv, an entertainment industry professional who had attended Shen Yun’s March 20 performance in Taipei with numerous friends, praised Shen Yun’s artistic director highly. He said, “Shen Yun’s artistic director is the pride of the Chinese people.”
“The visual effect is astounding,” he said. “Not only are the costumes and accessories exquisitely crafted in lovely hues, they play perfectly into the overall picture of the stage; this is something never done before.”
Mr. Lv said he was also amazed by both the classical Chinese dance and the Shen Yun orchestra, and that the blend of Chinese and Western instruments in the orchestra was “one of a kind in the world.”
Having Witnessed Similar Stories
Above all, Mr. Lv said, he was most affected by the story-based dance “Trial by Fire.”
“I am touched by the selfless dedication of the Falun Gong practitioners and admire their devotion toward their faith,” he says. “Watching this performance, I feel as if my soul has been cleansed of selfish desires.”
The story in “Trial by Fire” takes place in a town in contemporary China. A family is torn apart by the police because they practice Falun Dafa, a meditation discipline, also known as Falun Gong. And the young daughter is now alone but the tragedy does not go unnoticed as the heavens are watching, according to the program.
Mr. Lv choked up while saying, “I have had personal experiences with their story; I have seen [Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted]. It is an emotionally stirring experience to see it again onstage. The performance portrays the incident artistically, but I do know the persecution of Falun Gong in China is a terrifying thing.”
Mr. Lv said Shen Yun has spread positive energy and integrity to the world.
“In many cities in China, including the one I live in, people’s lives are so fast-paced and work is so stressful that there seems to be no time to ponder about morality and justice. Shen Yun shows people the true meaning of life; you realize what your final destination is in life.”
Shen Yun Is ‘Beyond Expectations’
Mr. Wang, a resident of mainland China who had come to Taipei especially to watch Shen Yun, deemed the performance “beyond expectations” and claimed that “the ambiance of the show and the dancers’ technical prowess were amazing.”
Mr. Wang says that he was most touched by the story-based dances, and was especially fascinated by the piece “Monks and the Red Guards.”
According to Shen Yun’s program, this dance depicts an incident where the student Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution attempt to drive monks out of their monasteries, only to discover that these monks possess supernatural martial arts abilities and could not be moved.
“I was not born during that period, but my parents were part of that generation’s intellectuals labeled as members of the ‘Five Black Categories,'” Mr. Wang said, referring to groups of people targeted for persecution when communists took power. “Even now, my parents don’t like to speak about those times, and I know that my grandparents went through a lot of hardship.”
Learning Real Chinese History
Mr. Wang expresses his disappointment that Shen Yun, with its mission to revive China’s five thousand years of civilization, is still banned from performing in China where younger generations do not have access to the culture of their past.
“When I came to Taiwan, I visited the National Palace Museum and saw all the historical artifacts. These things have all been demolished in China,” he says, remarking that his grandmother’s antique collection was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Having grown up in mainland China, Mr. Wang says that the education he received was heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party. Only after traveling extensively overseas and to Taiwan and Hong Kong did he realize that much of the historical knowledge in Chinese textbooks were inaccurate.
“In China, there is a gap between our generation and the cultural world of the past. The dance stories in Shen Yun allowed me to realize many things about our history. I will tell my friends about it when I return to China,” he said.
‘Everything Shen Yun Performs Is Real’
“I was really stunned. I cannot express it with words, but it shakes my soul,” said Mr. Chen, who had come from Northern China to Taiwan to see Shen Yun.
Even after leaving the performance venue, Mr. Chen still had a hard time controlling his emotions.
Mr. Chen had learned about Shen Yun’s World Tour online, and came to Taiwan to see it with a group of friends.
“Everything Shen Yun performs is real, including the heavenly realms and traditional culture and values. So I was really stunned!” he said.
Shen Yun showcases the 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, which has been devastated and exhausted under the Chinese Communist Party’s rule, so Mr. Chen was extremely moved and excited after seeing the performance.
“China has gone through the attack on the ‘Four Olds’ [traditional Chinese culture], and Chinese culture has been damaged. The culture and the relics have almost all been destroyed,” he said.
Having personally experienced the Cultural Revolution, Mr. Chen was filled with emotions when seeing the piece “Monks and the Red Guards.”
“I cannot articulate my feelings at that time. In our generation, we still know authentic Chinese culture. The next generation might not even know it anymore. Right now [in mainland China], traditional culture has disappeared.”
‘Familiar and Long-Lasting Warmth’
But now, Shen Yun is reviving this traditional culture. Mr. Chen said, “I am really moved, extremely moved. Shen Yun presents our authentic Chinese traditional culture, our long and drawn out history. So I am really moved and excited.”
Mr. Chen felt connected and warm when seeing the Chinese legends and historical stories represented in Shen Yun. “I was very excited with complex emotions. I felt familiar and long-lasting warmth.”
Mr. Chen also praised the Shen Yun performers for their self-restraint and decorum, saying the dancers show people the traditional Chinese virtues “‘benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and fidelity’ with their dance.”
“Without speech, they make people understand the virtues of traditional Chinese culture.”
Under Chinese Communist Party rule, society’s morality has declined. Mr. Chen said he felt he has been degenerated as well. “Living all these years within this environment, I have been polluted as well,” he says, but “Shen Yun helps you cleanse your soul. That’s why I feel so stunned.”
Although Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, Mr. Chen wholeheartedly hopes that Shen Yun can perform there. “I believe that one day, traditional Chinese culture will return to China; one day, we will be able to see Shen Yun perform in China,” he said.
Reporting by Zhu Xiaozhen, Dai Deman, Huang Caiwen, Virginia Wu, and Irene Luo
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.