ST. LOUIS—A billboard on one of the big highways in the metro-St. Louis area drew John and Carol Timmons to Shen Yun. “We thought it would be fun to do something for Valentine’s weekend,” Ms. Timmons said.
“I thought it was absolutely beautiful, very lively and informative,” said Ms. Timmons about the classical Chinese music and dance company—Shen Yun Performing Arts that is stopping in St. Louis as part of its Midwest tour.
“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales,” according to the company’s website.
Mrs. Timmons, a practicing nurse, opened the Carol Timmons Clinic a few years ago with her husband’s help.
Through the performance, Mrs. Timmons felt she was introduced to so many different ways of expressing things. She mentioned some costuming in particular: “I absolutely loved the long sleeves that are like an extension of the arms but then they are like light, they make you think of light or movements, in addition to the dancers.”
Mr. Timmons felt those sleeves would look great on a ballroom dance floor, the kind of dancing he and his wife do.
Both the Timmons enjoyed the fact that the dances were short. Shen Yun’s presentation contains some classical Chinese dance and others folk dances from China’s more than 50 ethnicities.
“It was exciting, it moved forward and it was fun,” Mrs. Timmons said. What impressed Mr. Timmons about the dance were its technical aspects, the difficult leaps, flips, and spins, an integral part to classical Chinese dance.
“It’s an interesting mix of Eastern and Western culture,” Mr. Timmons said, referring to the orchestra comprised of both Western instruments and Chinese ones.
Probably the piece he felt most moved by was the erhu soloist. The erhu is a two-string Chinese instrument. “That was the best part of the whole thing, I loved that,” he said.
Mr. Timmons felt that a unique aspect of the performance were some of the dances that depicted repression in China today. Due to this repression, Shen Yun cannot perform in China.
“I thought it was interesting. I didn’t realize there was a lot of persecution against the Buddhist faith, or some type of meditation [known as Falun Dafa],” said Mrs. Timmons.
Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation practice, holds to the principles of Truth, Tolerance and Compassion. It has been brutally persecuted in China by the communist regime since 1999.
She explained that she knew about the communist persecution of Christians in China, but not about Chinese traditional faiths.
“So it is kind of sad in a lot of ways, because [Shen Yun] is historical as much as anything; it’s the history of the whole country,” so she found it strange that “it’s trying to be wiped out.”
Reporting by Cara Ye and Sharon Kilarski
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.