BOSTON—The energy of Shen Yun was such that physician Peter Warinner had happy feet and almost couldn’t stand still during intermission.
“I feel a lot of energy, like I want to get on the stage and dance, jump around like they do,” Mr. Warinner said of the performers. He and his wife, Jennifer, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Jan. 23 engagement at the Boston Opera House.
“Everything is fantastic—the level of energy and the cheerfulness of the dances and performers, and especially the young woman who sang the song. It’s all very beautiful,” he said referring to soprano Rachael (Yu Ming) Bastick, who sang “Choose the Right Future.”
Ms. Bastick is a rarity in the performing arts’ world, as she not only excels at the bel canto technique in singing Chinese songs, but she also happens to be a principal dancer—a unique feat.
The Australian star wrote in her blog post on the company’s website: “It’s pretty much unheard of for a full-time classical Chinese dancer to also be a vocal soloist. It felt so wacky entertaining the audience through dance one moment, then singing to the same audience the next, then wearing dance shoes again.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts has united artists from around the world through its mission to revive China’s 5,000-year-old culture. Ironically, Shen Yun cannot be seen in China. The communist regime has sought to destroy the traditional culture, and consequently, most Chinese people had never heard of classical Chinese dance before Shen Yun.
While Mr. Warinner felt inspired by the performance, he also felt “a sense of sadness because of the oppression of the culture in China.” “But thank goodness, here they can have a voice to express their culture, and the hope is that someday in China, this will be allowed again,” he said.
Mrs. Warinner also enjoyed the performance and said that she had learned a lot about Chinese culture, including the spiritual aspects, meditation, and the beauty of the ancient culture.
The performance piqued her husband’s interest in traditional Chinese culture, and he could hardly wait to speak with a Taiwanese colleague about it. “It’s very beautiful and elegant and inviting. It makes you want to learn more,” he said.
A Virtual Trip to Ancient China
For Jay Brown, the experience of seeing Shen Yun was much more than passively taking in the spectacle: “This show with energy—it’s not like going to go to see a movie. … You feel like you are there, in China … experiencing what is going on,” he said after the Jan. 23 performance.
The skill of the artists in Shen Yun has surprised audiences worldwide, yet what people find most touching is the passion the company’s performing artists show for their long-lost culture.
This is what moved Mr. Brown to remark: “I guess, for me, it is the passion. It is not just actors. … They really believe what they are talking about, what they are singing about, the dances … ,” he said.
He was particularly moved by soprano Rachael (Yu Ming) Bastick: “Beautiful, beautiful. She had every note flawlessly. There is passion behind it when she was singing as well. It drew you in,” he said, adding that after her solo, he was reluctant to go to intermission.
Mr. Brown empathized with Shen Yun and its performers who cannot, at present, perform in mainland China due to the communist regime’s suppression of spiritual values. The company has been touring worldwide with the mission of reviving and showcasing China’s ancient values and divinely bestowed culture.
“It is a wake-up call for me to understand a different culture. … They can perform all over the world except where they are from. That’s tough,” Mr. Brown said.
Reporting by Stacy Chen and Kati Vereshaka
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.
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.