Meaning Behind Shen Yun’s Dance Inspires Big Picture Thinking

February 15, 2016

ST. LOUIS—Classical Chinese dance is an art form nearly as old as China’s storied 5,000 years. It was developed and refined through each dynasty, thus containing a depth that reveals itself when Shen Yun Performing Arts takes the stage.

On Feb. 13, store manager Gina Idoll said New York-based Shen Yun was so beautiful that there were parts where she started to cry. Ms. Idoll saw a performance with a friend at the Peabody Opera House.

“From everything from the technique that the dancers used, down to the outfits, it is absolutely fantastic,” said Ms. Idoll, who had trained for years as a gymnast and could relate to the physicality. But what impressed her most was the emotions the dancers put into the movements, she added.

“Every little move they made had feeling and intent behind it, so it really made me feel like I was a part of the play. That was amazing,” she said.

The expressive quality of classical Chinese dance lends itself to storytelling, and many of the dances are legends, myths, poetry, or novels of Chinese history come to life.

In one dance adapted from the story of the Lady in the Moon, audiences witnessed both heroism and heartbreak. In another dance, there was comedy, tyranny, and redemption displayed in a story that touched upon China’s modern history.

In the finale, there was a feeling that “really makes you sort of want to get up and do something,” Ms. Idoll said. The dance was set in the present day, and addressed the persecution of spiritual faiths in China, as well as the revival of traditional Chinese beliefs.

It was amazing to see and learn about, and she felt it inspired her to action. She felt the need for perseverance and said it was very moving.

Louise Leeker hoped more people could be inspired by Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing it on Feb. 13, 2016. (Ai Lan/Epoch Times)
Louise Leeker hoped more people could be inspired by Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing it on Feb. 13, 2016. (Ai Lan/Epoch Times)

Also in the audience at the Peabody was Louise Leeker, who owns a graphic design firm. Ms. Leeker also felt she gained a broader perspective from seeing the performance.

She said what she gleaned was the need to be mindful of things other than what’s in front of you right here in this world, and “that people need to be able to have to do what they want and what they think—that no one should be able to take that away from you.”

Seeing the performance, Ms. Leeker felt she understood how people can be so wrapped up in the modern world with technology and material things and in that, forget how important these traditions are. She saw the theme of good versus evil in the performance, and hoped good could win, ultimately.

“I hope that more people see it so they can be impacted by it, so they can get that message,” she said.

Reporting by Ai Lan, Nancy Ma, and Catherine Yang

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.