Montgomery County Executive: Shen Yun ‘Something the whole family can enjoy’

March 24, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Isiah Leggett says Shen Yun is a creative performance. (Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—Shen Yun Performing Arts graced the stage at the Kennedy Center Opera House for two performances on Saturday, March 24, leaving the full house audience pleased with the cultural display.

“This is our second time attending the show; we attended about two years ago. It’s something the whole family can enjoy, so I’m delighted to be back again,” said Isiah Leggett, county executive for Montgomery County, Maryland, a county consistently in the top 10 highest median incomes, and one that has also been cited for having a high degree of residents with post-graduate degrees as well as a strong school system.

“Wonderful creativity with large numbers of dancers,” added Mr. Leggett. “Just amazed at how they keep it so fresh and creative.”

New York-based Shen Yun traverses the world, displaying the 5,000-year-old, divinely-inspired Chinese culture to audiences at top venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center and The London Coliseum, according to the company’s website.

“In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago, through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom,” states Shen Yun’s website.

The modern-day epic of the persecution of Falun Dafa caught Mr. Leggett’s attention. “The message of oppression—people challenged, the challenges to live their faith and do things that they want to do, which is consistent with the American spirit of freedom of religion, I think that’s the clear message,” he said. “It brings some level of attention to what we see happening there.”

“Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is guided by the principles of ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,’ states Shen Yun’s website. “It has helped over a hundred million Chinese people understand and return to the essence of traditional Chinese culture—Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist schools of thought.”

Traditional Chinese culture was nearly destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party; likewise, the party, “whose regime and ideology are in stark contrast with the traditional culture of China, has targeted Falun Gong for persecution,” states the website. “In Shen Yun performances, themes like spiritual devotion, the benevolence of gods, good and evil retribution, and the search for the meaning of life have appeared in Falun Gong-related dance stories and lyrics. These programs touch the heart and enlighten the mind.”

‘I like the values’

Also attending one of the performance on Saturday was Ed and Carolyn Hines, who own and preside over CW Hines & Associates. The marketing and public relations work the company does includes having the exclusive rights to book the Temptations in Africa and the Middle East, said Mr. Hines.

“We are particularly happy to see … Shen Yun preserving traditional Chinese culture,” said Mr. Hines, whose family is related to the Fante tribe, one of the largest ethnic groups of Ghana. “The show was absolutely wonderful, absolutely fantastic, and the effort they put into it—Shen Yun is just a wonderful, wonderful show.”

Mrs. Hines particularly enjoyed the dance Flower Fairies, where “Flower blossoms transform into fluttering fairies to join in ethereal dance,” according to Shen Yun’s program. “Dressed in soft pink skirts and gossamer capes, performers glide across the stage like petals adrift in the wind, Airy and almost weightless, they evoke a divine grandeur.”

“I like the values,” said Mrs. Hines. “We did not know much about China, and I was surprised to know that you can do this in America and around the country but you cannot show this in China, so I am glad that you are able to do that.”

For Mr. Hines, the animation on the digital backdrop was “fantastic.” He concluded with strong feelings about the performance.

“I think this is a wonderful thing that you are bringing to America and to the world,” he said. “We urge everyone to come out and see Shen Yun!”

Reporting by NTD Television, Sally Sun, and Zachary Stieber.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at The Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C., through April 1.

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