PHOENIX—Mining company CEO David Stewart was looking for something extraordinary to watch when he found Shen Yun Performing Arts online. He booked two tickets—for himself and his wife—and after watching the performance at Phoenix’s Orpheum Theater, Shen Yun more than exceeded expectations.
“It is exceptional, just exceptional,” Stewart said on Feb. 20.
“[It was an] all-encompassing awesome experience.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts visited Pheonix, Arizona as part of its 2019 world tour, wherein six equally large companies will travel to more than 130 countries to showcase 5,000 of traditional Chinese culture through music and dance.
Stewart, who founded and is CEO of Arizona-based Swallow Mining LLC, said he was most impressed by the spiritual theme running throughout the performance.
Traditional Chinese cultural is deeply rooted in belief of the divine. Indeed, China was once called Shen Zhou, or divine land. Throughout the ages, Chinese people believed in Heaven, and living life in accordance with principles that led one closer to the divine. Such principles included compassion, righteousness, loyalty, and propriety. The teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism reflect these values, giving Chinese people a compass with which to navigate their lives.
The CEO felt the divinely-inspired culture shining through in the performance.
“It warms the heart, just witnessing it or being a part of it,” he said.
Stewart said it gave him a sense of hope.
“We do live in a rough world, there is a lot of stuff but there is goodness at the base of all of it,” he said.”
“I would like to think that is the center of all of us.”
Good Over Evil
The theme of good prevailing over evil was also peppered throughout the program, particular in pieces depicting the suppression of people of faith in today’s China.
Shen Yun shows how practitioners of spiritual practice Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) have been arrested, imprisoned, and tortured in China as part of a sweeping persecution that has lasted almost two decades. The Chinese Communist Party banned the practice after it surged in popularity in the late 1990s, with about 70 million people practicing in China.
Stewart said he was amazed that the performers had the courage to speak out about the issue, adding that it was impressive that “they do it with so much talent and beauty.”
Stewart’s wife Linda, a retired business owner, was also captivated by the performance, praising the beauty, grace, and radiance exuded by the dancers.
“I felt like standing up and being much more graceful myself,” she said.
“They way they made me feel was just so wonderful.”
Stewart said he now has a greater appreciation of Chinese culture, as well as Mongolian culture.
He said he had been studying Mongolian culture and was pleased to see it celebrated during the performance in the ethnic dance “Mongolian Cowboys.”
“I want to be a Mongolian cowboy in my next life, or maybe I already was…” Stewart mused.
With reporting by NTD Television.
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.