Professor and Daughter Say Shen Yun Stories Connected With the Audience

January 29, 2023 ShareSHARE

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—College professor Barbara Craig and her adopted daughter Elizabeth felt a connection with the dancers during the Shen Yun Performing Arts presentation at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Jan. 29.

A professor of communications, Ms. Craig said, “I will say the nonverbal [communication], it was just beautiful, taking in all the senses as far as the gestures, the space, and the costumes.”

Ms. Craig’s own daughters did Chinese dance, “so watching the performers, it reminded me when they were little.”

She summed up the beauty of the performance as “just taking culture and putting it into an expression that everybody can appreciate the divine.”

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in 2006 by a group of leading Chinese artists who had fled the persecution of China’s ruling communist party. Following the regime’s violent takeover in 1949, traditional Chinese culture underwent a period of mass destruction.

Ms. Craig felt the values Shen Yun shared were universal.

“The educational value is just teaching people that, even though we have different backgrounds, we’re all the same. And all [cultures] have unique stories to share with the world that has the same message of hope, and community.”

“When we think about culture, we all have our history, and a lot of times we will get the opportunity to see another culture’s history. Shows like this allow us to see where they came from, where other cultures are at, and how we have more in common than we are different.”

Elizabeth, studying supply chain management, recalled similarities in her early years in Chinese dance; “They were very similar in the way that you just express yourself with your body.

“It was really nice watching them seeing what I could have done if I stuck with it. But it was just beautiful. I loved watching it. My instructor was someone who dances just like them. Full circle.”

Symbolism, especially in the opening act with the dancers, the lotus flowers, and long flowing sleeves impressed Ms. Craig. She loved that, as they danced, “they would flip them out, and it reminded me of bamboo.”

Recalling the last act of the Creator saving mankind, Ms. Craig said, “Pretty powerful when we think of it; just taking the symbolism that, you know, we can be saved. And He brought that to us.”

Elizabeth said the performers connected with the audience. “I thought it was very unique and very clever how they were able to take [the opening] storyline and bringing in a way that connected the audience. It was very clever. I really liked it.”

Ms. Craig said everyone should see Shen Yun.

Retired Colonel Saw the Beauty of Mankind in Shen Yun

Epoch Times Photo
The Lawson family (L–R) Harlan, Janet, Brandi, and Madeline, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan. 29, 2023. (Sherry Dong/The Epoch Times)

Retired Army colonel Harlan Lawson brought his wife Janet, a retired speech pathologist, registered nurse Brandi, and sixth grader Madeline Minton to a Shen Yun performance on Sunday.

Col. Lawson rated Shen Yun a ten.

“I thought the choreography was fantastic, just the ability to be in sync with the music and with what else was going on on stage,” he said. “It’s just extremely professional and takes a lot of hard work. There’s also a lot of athleticism in it.”

The Mongolian ethnic dance especially impressed him. “I thought that one struck my heart more than anything because you could see some similarity between that and the Samoan dancing in the South Pacific. I would say it touched me from the standpoint of what beauty really means, the beauty of mankind. Being a subordinate, if you will, to God. I think we don’t see that message often enough, and I think that’s powerful.”

Janet was moved by many aspects of the performance. “It’s magnificent: the colors, the movements, the gracefulness. And then again that there is still communism, and that people need to be aware of it.”

Madeline said, “I didn’t know that communism was still a thing in China, actually.”

Shen Yun describes its mission to show audiences “China before communism.”

Brandi expressed her gratitude “for what we have here in the United States. I’m Christian so I love the idea of Falun Dafa, that it’s so very similar to how we were raised.”

Col. Lawson also commented: “I also did not know that the [spirituality] that they follow is so close to Christianity. I was very much impressed with that. I think we need to get together and work together on that even more. That was a surprise to me, and very enlightening.”

Falun Dafa, as stated in the program books, teaches truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, and is a spiritual practice the Shen Yun artists follow. It is also known as Falun Gong.

Janet was happy to finally see Shen Yun. “I’ve been waiting four years to see this. I was really glad to have the opportunity to get here.” She, too, was grateful for the work that went into the performance. “The work that goes into this performance, I mean the time and effort. It’s just magnificent.”

Col. Lawson appreciated the performers’ courage: “The idea that they are waving the flag of freedom and heaven’s providence I think is critical. It’s more than just entertainment; it actually gets to the important values in life.”

He said he brought the streaming version to watch it again at home.

Reporting by Sherry Dong and Yvonne Marcotte.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006. Creative Director of Shen Yun, Mr. Li Honghi, has recently published “Why There is Mankind” in various independent media.

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