NEW YORK—Adelphi University Professor Anita Frey came to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Jan. 17 and absolutely loved it.
“I was transported! The whole mystical aspect of this performance was enchanting. The costumes were breathtaking, the colors … I keep reciting what they were because they were so … the apricot, the turquoise, the greens, they were gorgeous,” she said.
New York-based Shen Yun revives China’s rich 5,000-year-old culture, displaying ancient legends, ethnic dances, and classical Chinese dance, as well as scenes from contemporary life in China. The performances are accompanied by a traditional Western orchestra that includes traditional Chinese instruments.
“They have a wonderful mission to deliver,” Ms. Frey said.
“I was very taken by the mission, the spirituality, the aspect of Chinese people to be able to express themselves spiritually and philosophically and ethically. It was so moving. It was powerful, it was absolutely wonderful.”
Freedom of expression features prominently in the dance The Power of Compassion. Based on true events in modern China, this story depicts peaceful meditators of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline who are suddenly attacked by communist police and severely beaten.
But when an officer hurts his knee during the attack, the Falun Gong practitioners actually stop trying to flee and help the resistant officer. Moved by this compassion, the officer comes to regret his actions, leading to an unexpected blessing.
On the Shen Yun website it reads: “Over its past 60 years of rule, the communist regime has treated traditional Chinese values—centered on the idea of harmony between heaven and earth—as a threat to its existence. And in its systematic campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, it has uprooted traditional beliefs and destroyed ancient treasures—bringing traditional 5,000 years of civilization to the brink of extinction.”
Ms. Frey, who has seen performances in mainland China, said they don’t even compare to Shen Yun. “This was the most artistic thing I’ve ever seen China do. I saw some performances when we were in China, but nothing like this. A lot of them were … with guns! Chinese ballet, when we were in China … with guns, and war, and army uniforms, and conquest, and not this! Nothing like this!”
For Ms. Frey, Shen Yun offers hope, as depicted by the last scene The Divine Renaissance Begins. Again, Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted in China and “earth begins to erupt in fury,” but the Lord Buddha appears to save the people and the earth and a “new era begins,” according to the Shen Yun program book.
She saw “the Buddha, whoever, came from Heaven to save the people. And they worshiped him, and they adored him. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful! And it transcended all certified religions. Because it was so ethical and spiritual. I really enjoyed it.”
That’s why she will be telling her friends to come to the performance. “I was hooked! I was hooked! I was deep into the story and that was it. So thank you very much! I really enjoyed every bit of it!”
Reporting by NTD Television and Valentin Schmid
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.