PORTLAND, Ore.—Watching Shen Yun Performing Arts gave Marjory Hyde and her family hope that the beauty of traditional culture can be restored to humanity.
Ms. Hyde, a retired social worker, drove 400 miles from Idaho to see New York-based Shen Yun with her son. The family, who are of Native American descent, recounted a touching experience.
“I loved it, I cried in so many different places; it’s really emotional for me, because I could really feel what the people were going through for their belief, it just really touched my heart,” Ms. Hyde said, starting to tear up again during the interview.
Her son, Theron Red Coyote, was equally touched, and moved to tears in front of the camera.
“I’m going to get emotional … there are no words to pull out [to express] how deep and incredibly moving this show was,” he said.
Mission and Culture
Mr. Red Coyote had found Shen Yun online, and shared it with his mother after some research. She immediately wanted to see it. “We need to go,” Ms. Hyde said.
The live experience was more than he had bargained for.
“I’ve seen interviews on the internet and on TV, and I thought, ‘it’s amazing these people were touched so much,'” he said. “But until you … actually feel it [at the performance, you won’t realize], how… touching this performance [is].'”
As his voice broke, he said, “these people through dance and song, are showing us in the modern world from a culture that’s still here, that’s existed for 5,000 years, that this is the right way to be, to remember that there is a Creator, and that he’s watching for us.”
Mr. Red Coyote said he felt Shen Yun’s mission to revive this traditional culture was important, because he thought that looking only at a culture in the present can be limiting.
He said it was important to realize that getting back to the original, ancient culture will “keep us grounded.”
“We need to make sure we’re in touch with each other as human beings,” he said. In our modern times, we worship money, we worship the wrong things, he said, and Shen Yun gave some clarity.
It was the performance of the soprano that produced the strongest impression on Mr. Red Coyote.
“When she was singing,” he said, almost breaking into tears again, “the words were incredible, you could feel the belief that she had, that was coming out of her. In an earlier scene, divine light coming down from the heavens like sunshine was created with a digital backdrop.” That’s what Mr. Red Coyote thought the song felt like.
“The light from the heavens, that’s kind of what I felt [was] coming out of her, that touched me, and it was just amazing, it was an amazing feeling,” Mr. Red Coyote said, with emotion in his voice.
Our Modern World
Mr. Red Coyote felt that anyone could benefit from seeing Shen Yun.
“I believe that whoever hasn’t seen this [performance] needs to, it’s amazing. There aren’t words for it,” he said.
“It shows you just how lost our modern world is, and it shows you how far we’ve gone away from the divine path and how much we need to return to that [path],” Mr. Red Coyote continued.
“It shows you that even in China itself there are people who want to know more, who want to go back.”
“This is what makes you who you are. It’s great,” he continued. “Having buildings and huge planes and lots of money—sure that helps you, but it doesn’t fulfill you. It doesn’t help you with being a better person, which is what the Falun Gong movement is about—bettering yourself, keeping yourself grounded.”
Many years ago, Mr. Red Coyote had learned about the persecution of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual meditation practice that taught truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, in the pursuit of self betterment. It 1999, the Chinese communist party gave an order for the eradication of the practice, and its 100 million practitioners were targeted for persecution.
“It always bothered me,” he said, “when I saw it on TV, because I saw people who didn’t want to do anything to hurt other people, they just wanted to open them up.”
In Shen Yun, he saw stories that touched on exactly that topic. The performing arts company’s members, too, strive for self betterment in order to present art that uplifts and inspires, according to the program notes. Many of the artists also practice Falun Gong.
Ms. Hyde said that she, too, was “almost without words” as she was so touched by these stories. After giving an interview, she continued to speak with a reporter about her touching experience, mirroring her son’s words off camera. The words were pouring from her heart, and their hearts were just beating in unison.
She said that the performance “reminded me so much of my own people and what we had to go through as a culture and try to retain it too … still maintaining that strong belief in the community.”
Ms. Hyde, who has a Native American background, felt a personal connection with the spirituality displayed within the performance.
The Chinese people traditionally believed in the harmony between heaven and earth, between mankind and the divine. So she was impressed with the classical Chinese dance used to revive this belief, and the stories told through it.
One dance showed Chinese communist party policemen persecuting people of faith, and reminded her of her own people and their experiences. “That really got me,” she said. “Our people had to put up with the military trying to drive things out of us,” she continued, “saying we were wrong when we really weren’t. So this was an emotional experience for me.”
“We all struggle to keep our cultures, and that’s what I saw as a struggle to keep our culture that we believe in,” she said.
Both mother and son felt there is the hope for future.
Mr. Red Coyote said, “the people that were persecuted, even though they’re hit and they’re killed, and jailed, they’re not destroyed. Their foundation isn’t destroyed, they know what puts the meaning in their lives.”
Ms. Hyde said she would be telling people that she “saw the most beautiful presentation that touched my heart.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Nataly Teplitsky
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.
The 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.