COSTA MESA, Calif.—Mission accomplished. Those are two words one might think of after listening to audience members who watched a sold-out performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Jan. 30.
Shen Yun is a New York-based, classical Chinese music and dance company whose mission is to revive China’s ancient culture, which is thought to be divinely inspired.
Audience members were clearly touched by the performance as they were heard cheering and seen standing with their hands conjoined in front of their chest in respect for the Shen Yun performers. One enthusiastic audience member sitting in the front row and center leapt from her seat and clapped with her hands over her head as the curtain fell after one of the vocal soloists sang.
Ms. Ava Park, a minister, was one of the many audience members who had a glowing review to share.
“I loved the show,” she said. “I thought it was magical and beautiful.” Everyone should see it, she added.
A Shen Yun performance includes approximately 20 vignettes, each no longer than 10 minutes, that whisk audience members on a journey of China’s 5,000 years of civilization, from the Yellow Emperor all the way to the present.
Myths and legends come to life, and in each piece, performers wear different, richly colored costumes.
Ms. Park said the costumes were fantastic. “Absolutely exquisite and beautiful,” she said. She was particularly impressed by the ones with long, flowing sleeves.
“What were they called, Sleeves of Grace? That was absolutely fantastic. Just exquisite. Just beautiful,” she said.
Ms. Park, who runs a church in Irvine, was deeply touched by Shen Yun’s unique approach to the art form.
“It was exquisite dancing. But more than that, I loved the message,” she explained. “I loved the spirituality.”
China’s deep-rooted culture is built on the foundations of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. It is, therefore, imbued with principles such as benevolence and justice, respect for the heavens, divine retribution, and propriety.
According to Shen Yun’s website, “This spiritual connection is motivation for striving to excel, is the heart behind each movement of the dancer and each note of the musician. It is why audiences can feel there is something different about Shen Yun. Their source of inspiration, rooted in traditional Chinese culture, is the spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa.”
Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today where, after decades of rule by the Chinese Communist Party, traditional culture has nearly been decimated.
Shen Yun’s website explains, “The Chinese Communist Party removes the cultural essence of respect for the divine, thereby extracting the heart and soul of traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun seeks to revive these virtues the world over.”
Ms. Park has an acute awareness of the need to better understand and safeguard China’s rich cultural history in our modern society.
“The ancient, deep spirituality of that part of the world, that culture. And it lives. It survives, it exists, it’s beautiful,” she said. “It has not been crushed.”
Shen Yun ‘Stands for the light’
Ron Conti, a contractor, also watched Shen Yun on Jan. 30, and he said he felt good about the performance’s positive message for humanity.
“The message was very good,” he said. “It was about enlightenment and to stand for something in the society that’s actually greater than us—to stand for the light; enlightenment … and to stand against the darkness.”
The themes of good prevailing over evil are prevalent in several vignettes, both old and modern, that depict kindhearted, courageous people acting on their values.
“I felt very good that people were standing up for their beliefs and to follow something to bring something good into mankind and into humanity,” Mr. Conti said. “I felt very good about that.”
He said he felt that he was watching “true people of faith” whose sincerity was well received.
Mr. Conti expressed that faith is not emphasized enough nowadays.
“I think it’s probably one of the most neglected things nowadays. Between politicians and leaders, this prime, essential message is lost on the masses of what people of true faith are about—to reach an enlightened state of mind—which would solve all the world’s problems. It is to be about overcoming the darkness,” and how good people will prevail in the end, he said.
Mr. Conti ended by saying that the performers are sharing their thoughts and feelings about reviving their culture. “And not that they needed any help with that,” he said. “No, they have all the help they need with enlightenment and from the divine for that.”
Reporting by Michael Ye, Mandy Huang, Morgan Bradley and Albert Roman
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.