ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Shen Yun Performing Arts opened its first show at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre on the evening of May 6.
In attendance were investor Andrew Villone and his partner Diane Scott. This was the couple’s first time watching Shen Yun, and they thought it was an excellent experience.
“I loved it so much! I was happy to hear that there is a different show every year. I do want to come back and see it again. It would be great,” Mr. Villone expressed.
Based in New York, Shen Yun’s performance comprises of a series of short pieces that takes its audience on a journey through the dynasties and across the vast regions of China.
Using classical Chinese, folk, and ethnic dances, as well as solo musical performances, the artists tell legends from ancient times to the modern day.
The company is expected to return with a brand-new set of choreography, stories, and musical compositions every year.
The couple was especially impressed by Shen Yun’s commitment to raising awareness for human rights issues in modern-day China.
Mr. Villone had previously read about the communist party’s illegal organ black market and was glad to see it represented in Shen Yun’s performance.
“I believe [Shen Yun] made some people in America conscious about the very real political situation that’s taking place in China right now,” he said.
“If you are an enemy of the state, according to [the communist regime,] they could take your body and sell your organs. It’s a dreadful thing! Most people don’t know about it.”
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China’s 5,000 years of history are filled with breathtaking legends and rich traditions. Yet, within just a few decades of the Chinese communists’ rise to power, this magnificent culture was completely destroyed.
The spread of atheism quickly eradicated Chinese people’s belief in the divine. The cherished virtues and values learned from the teachings of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism disappeared overnight.
Even today, millions of Chinese people are being persecuted for their faith.
Ms. Scott said the performance moved her and “brought awareness to how much freedom we as Americans enjoy and how we take it for granted.”
“Even the basic right of choice of how you practice your religion can be taken away—it’s horrific to imagine that this would happen anywhere,” she added.
“My sister-in-law is Chinese, and so I have a very strong connection to that sort of suffering.”
Referring to Shen Yun’s portrayal of traditional Chinese culture, Mr. Villone said emphatically that it was a revelation to discover some Chinese people still believed in a higher power because “the Chinese Communist Party kidnapped Chinese culture.”
He was glad to see that Shen Yun is working to revive this lost civilization and bring back, to the world through dance and music, the beauty of pre-communist China.
Reporting by Sally Sun and Jennifer Tseng.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.