PORTLAND—Nicknamed the City of Roses, Portland is also known for its rainy weather. For three days April 12–14, the city was instead bathed in soothing light from Shen Yun Performing Arts, which melted away the mundane, problems, tiredness, and worries.
Robbie Vilandre from Oregon was one of those audience members who was very touched by what she had seen.
She said Shen Yun is “such a wonderful history of past, gone by.” Though it was sad to see what had been endured over 5,000 years, she was heartened to see people overcoming them with their strength, culture, and faith.
‘Peace, and Serenity, and Grace’
Rebecca Prince, a retired sales representative, said that what the performance imparted to her was a feeling of “peace, and serenity, and grace.”
“It brings me into a whole different world, that I wish I had known,” she added.
Jean Chen, an office assistant, was filled with excitement after the performance. “I love it, it is gorgeous, it is breathtaking,” she said.
She said that growing up in a Chinese family, she saw Chinese costumes all the time on TV, and they became common, everyday things to her, “but coming here and listening to the host talking about the history of the dances, and the culture that developed those dances, I learned so much more about this aspect, every dynasty.
“It is really neat,” she said. “I didn’t know they were very elegant. That is their key thing.”
“You see the culture of [China], you see the arts, the color, the creativity, the kings, everybody. Even the dresses, it tells a story about the people who made them,” she added.
Ms. Chen said she loved the dance “Fairies of the Sea.”
Of the dance, Shen Yun’s program book states, “Ancient Chinese legends speak of delicate fairy maidens, only visible to the pure of heart.”
In this piece, the fairies’ long, silk fans look like rippling waves at the surface of the sea. Ms. Chen noticed this and expressed her impression very similarly, in her own way: “I love the ruffle effect they could create with the fan … I am seeing flashbacks right now,” she said.
Ms. Chen said, “I came here [to America] when I was nine. I am really proud of being Chinese, and to see this rich culture on stage. I just wanted to tell my friend: ‘See, Chinese are awesome.'”
Marianna Bonham, a psychologist, felt the energy that came from the dancers in the Mongolian ethnic dance was amazing. She said, “I think anybody can come and see [the performance], even little kids can come and be really entertained and learn a lot.”
Valerie Savage, a freelance writer, found deep emotion in the performance.
“I loved it, it was fantastic. There was a part where I cried because I really felt the pain they were trying to exude in the performance. I could feel it, it just touched me that much … very profound.”
Ms. Savage was referring to a dance that depicted persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in contemporary China by the brutal communist regime.
“Because I want world peace,” continued Ms. Savage, “I am not trying to win an election, or gain a monetary value, I just want the world to be more peaceful; no more wars. When I see pain like that, I know it is not good.”
Overall, she found the performance “fantastical.”
“I would really encourage people to come to be able to understand another culture, to learn about the differences, so we can all live in a world together, and appreciate our differences.”
Pure Enjoyment and Passion
“One thing I got out of it was just pure enjoyment,” said Linda Paulson, faculty member of Portland Community College. “It is nice to come and enjoy a show and relax and such. I love the colors, the bright colors—joy came out of [them].”
She said about the performance, “I think it is fabulous, it is all done non-verbally, so you are getting a lot of emotions and passion that comes out with the message. I noticed there is a subliminal message in there, and I caught on that too.”
Ms. Paulson is also an owner of RelationshipSync. LLC. She has written a book “The Wings of Harmony: Soaring Toward More Meaningful & Satisfying Relationships With Others,” focusing on four “tried & true” principles of communication.
She holds a M.Ed. in organizational and human development from Oregon State University and was voted Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 2003 for IMPD.
Ms. Paulson loved the communication between the artists and audience through art. The classical Chinese dance she saw was both elegant and dynamic—with its high flips and jumps—and everything told a story. “I felt that through dance, we can really get a sense of the passion of the history they are trying to project. “
Ms. Paulson also liked a historical aspect of the performance. “I like history, I am a history nut … I like those elements along the way … so seeing [Shen Yun] portraying it this way is really an eye opener.”
Her husband, Bruce Paulson, a loan officer for Banner Bank at Lake Oswego, Oregon, joined his wife in praising Shen Yun.
“I think it is exciting, it is just a very passionate show, very exciting, very energetic,” he said. “I love how it [Shen Yun] is trying to describe the culture through dance and emotions that are conveyed through the cast and the music.”
“The colors are vibrant, the energy is electric, the passion that comes through from the cast, you can feel it, you can sense it,” Mr. Paulson said.
He said he had actually studied the Chinese culture a bit before, but seeing it in person was so different.
“It is just the excitement that comes to life through the performing arts. [It] is a wonderful way of learning the culture,” said Mr. Paulson.
The couple agreed on a description of the performance: colorful, energetic, and passionate.
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.
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.