NEWARK, N.J.—Birthdays are meant to be celebrated in special ways, which is why physician Arthur Patterson, who has been in practice for four decades, chose to gift himself tickets to see Shen Yun Performing Arts for his 65th birthday.
“We had a fabulous time, and I will be back,” said Mr. Patterson, who watched the performance for the first time with a friend at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on May 6. “The choreography was amazing, the stories were amazing.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006 and is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Now with eight equally sized companies touring the world simultaneously, Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture and to give its audiences a glimpse of pre-communist China.
“The way they came to life—I really want to learn how they went from the screen [and] onto the stage,” Mr. Patterson said, referring to Shen Yun’s patented animated backdrop, which allows performers to move between the stage and the background. “I was really mesmerized.”
Shen Yun’s program includes story-based dances, some of which are set in modern-day China and depict the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of followers of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Mr. Patterson said that he will definitely be learning more about Falun Dafa and that he planned to study its teachings.
Mr. Patterson appreciated that Shen Yun drew awareness to the ongoing persecution.
“That’s a serious problem, [and] we have some challenges ahead,” he said. “A production like this … gives me hope that we can overcome it. I know it motivates me to do more on my own [too].”
According to Shen Yun’s website, the ancient Chinese people believed that their culture was divinely inspired and was a gift from the Heavens. Shen Yun’s opening program reflects this belief in the portrayal of divine beings following the Creator down the Earth to establish civilization.
Mr. Patterson said that when he saw the opening scene, “the best feeling that I got was serenity—that’s the overwhelming feeling that came out of it.” He also said that the music performed by Shen Yun’s live orchestra was stunning and that he felt uplifted and hopeful after watching Shen Yun.
“It just brings out the amazing spirit, the human spirit, and the potential and the beauty,” said Mr. Patterson. “We’re in a very troubled world now, and it (Shen Yun) displays hope. It just leaves you with a [feeling that] things can get better.”
Reporting by Weiyong Zhu and Wandi Zhu
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.