NEW YORK—Michelle Sitinas’s 6-year-old daughter is a curious student of the Chinese language and culture. She attends a specialized school with a full-time foreign language program, so the mother and daughter decided seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center would be the perfect cultural experience.
They attended the Saturday, Jan. 10 afternoon performance.
“It brings up the beautiful message that the Chinese culture is not just about what it is today, but it is about many, many thousands of years of civilization,” said Ms. Sitinas, who owns a financial services company and raises capital for hedge funds.
Established in 2006, New York-based Shen Yun revives 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the performing arts. China was once known as the land of the divine, with its culture imparted by heaven. But under 60-some years of communist rule, the culture has been all but lost.
Ms. Sitinas lauded the visual beauty of Shen Yun—the brilliant costumes and choreography, the staging, music, and animated backdrop—and saw in them a message of peace and being kind to one another.
“The dances are beautiful, the performance is beautiful, the colors, the music,” Ms. Sitinas said.
“She’s 6 years old and she loves it,” Ms. Sitinas added of her daughter.
According to Shen Yun’s website, the essence of Chinese culture comes from the ideals of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and these virtues all come to life on stage.
Shen Yun’s classically trained dancers perform ethnic and folk dances from China’s 50-plus minority groups, and classical Chinese dance. Classical Chinese dance has been passed on and refined through the dynasties, and is a richly expressive form.
“Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard for human conduct, moral concepts, mental state, one’s value system, and so on,” Shen Yun’s website explains.
“I don’t have the words,” Ms. Sitinas’s daughter said, hugging a Shen Yun calendar they bought as a souvenir. “I love it.”
For three years and counting, Lisa Burke and her daughter Christine Boeren have made seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center an annual tradition.
“It’s touching,” Ms. Burke said with tears in her eyes after the matinee performance Jan. 10.
Ms. Burke, a lawyer at the Nassau County supreme court, adopted her daughter from China. The mother and daughter say since they’ve found Shen Yun, they continually come back to experience the traditional culture of China.
“When you come here, you feel really connected,” Ms. Boeren said. “I thought it was beautiful and it really touched me.”
Every year, seeing Shen Yun gives Ms. Burke a feeling of joy, she said, to experience the Chinese culture and share it with her daughter.
Ms. Burke enjoyed that Shen Yun showed how vast China really is. Shen Yun’s dances tell stories ranging from the creation myth of the Divine Land to contemporary pieces that bring the traditional values to life. The company also performs different ethnic and folk dances every year, such as the piece Chopsticks Dance of the Mongolian Ladies and the dance of the Li ethnic group on the Hainan Island.
All of it is presented with elegance and grace, she said.
As Shen Yun’s website states, “Classical Chinese dance is a culture left to us by the ancients who came before us, its beauty should be riches shared by all of humanity, its purity should not be contaminated.” The richly expressive form is used to tell the stories, and classical Chinese dance serves as a foundation for the ethnic and folk dances as well.
Ms. Boeren said, “They show you the beauty of China.”
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.