EUGENE, Ore.—As the leader of replenishing authentic Chinese culture—culture rooted in the divine essence of the China’s 5,000-year-old history—Shen Yun Performing Arts utilizes the very best of music, dance, and storytelling to bring these traditions to life.
As part of its 2015 global tour, Shen Yun made its way through Eugene’s Hult Center for the Performing Arts on March 31, where Eugene’s audience was awaiting the Middle Kingdom’s revival.
In attendance was Elena Espinoza, who bought tickets as soon as she saw an advertisement at an Asian celebration in her area. “It is amazing,” she said. “We are deeply emotional for the performance. It is wonderful. We love everything that is happening.”
As one of the most expressive art forms in the world, classical Chinese dance has been tempered over thousands of years. Moreover, Shen Yun’s storytelling is depicted through the company’s version of story-based dances, which “give dramatic portrayal to the cherished stories of past and present,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Ms. Espinoza, a multicultural liaison for Springfield High School, said that while the stories were told through the dramatics on stage, she noticed much more by way of the inherent narratives in each of the dancers’ movements—which she added, transcends the bounds of language.
“I do not know the language, but I can relate the movements of the performers’ bodies, telling a story about the towns and places in China,” she said. “And it’s really touching—it brought tears to my eyes when I was seeing that. It’s beautiful, just so beautiful.”
The reason for her tears, she said, is that Shen Yun hits at something so fundamental to being human. “It’s something that is related to humanity, and I think that is really touching to people because we all want to be good with people—we want to be nice to people.”
Ms. Espinoza, who has visited China in recent years, added that seeing other performances in China today is nothing compared to what Shen Yun is doing. “We have never seen something like this,” she said. “When we went to China, we saw the Peking Opera over there—it is not related to this. Totally different.”
Some of the main differences may be that in China today, the communist regime views traditional Chinese values—values such as benevolence, propriety, and the harmony between heaven and earth—as a threat to its legitimacy. In this way, the regime has sought to eradicate traditional Chinese culture over its past 60 years of rule.
And Ms. Espinoza certainly noticed the discrepancy. “I think in every single dance or performance we have seen, they are showing the spiritual part of a human—of a human being in the culture of China,” she said.
Nevertheless, Ms. Espinoza was struck by the overall ineffable qualities of Shen Yun. “I do know how to express that,” she said. But for certain: “We are really lucky that we are here watching this.”
Reporting by Frank Zhang and Michael Fitzgerald
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.