Professor: Spirituality in Shen Yun ‘Rings With People’s Hearts’

What does ancient Chinese culture have to offer our secular world today?
December 22, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The mission of Shen Yun Performing Arts is to revive China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture and present it to audiences through dance and music. Michael Durrigan, a college professor and child psychologist, believes this is very important.

He attended Shen Yun for the third time at the Center for the Performing Arts in San Jose, California, on Dec. 22. He was impressed by the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture.

“That’s an important aspect, I think, of the program,” he said. “It radiates through that, and it rings with people’s hearts. And in a world that is very secular right now, that message reminds you a little bit, there’s a spiritual side to life. I think that’s a wonderful thing to have. Very important.”

According to Shen Yun’s website, China has been called the “Celestial Empire” since ancient times, and traditional Chinese culture is thought to have been imparted by divine beings. Virtues such as respect for the divine and balance with nature are important parts of this culture.

Through classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music, Shen Yun aims to bring these ancient traditions to life.

Durrigan was reminded of the traditional idea “that we’re not the only type of beings in the universe.”

About the divine portrayed in Shen Yun, he said: “I think it’s a good thing. … People, at an unconscious level, some of them, when they see that, I think that it radiates with them, because it’s ringing a bell with your own spiritual inclinations. So I think that that’s a beautiful thing.”

Each Shen Yun performance includes a variety of short dance and music pieces—classical Chinese dances, ethnic and folk dances, dance pieces that tell stories and legends from ancient China, and vocal and instrumental solos.

Durrigan admired the variety and contrast among the different stories and pieces. He liked the way the dancers portrayed both earthly and divine things. For example, the dance “Restaurant Cheer” is full of humorous antics at a restaurant scene, while “The World Divinely Restored” tells the story of the Creator leading divine beings to establish the glorious Chinese culture.

“I loved quite a few things—the color, the pageantry, the music. The storylines are very wonderful,” he said.

He found the images of the Creator and divine beings very beautiful. He also thinks the myths and legends in Shen Yun are important.

“The West is hungry for spirituality in mythology,” he said.

Remarkable Skill

“The talent of the dancers is remarkable,” Durrigan said. “Excellent. Very good. I used to ballroom dance when I was younger, so I can appreciate their [skill]. It’s excellent. It’s a very, very high level of dancing.”

He appreciated the countless hours the dancers must have spent training.

“To achieve something like that, I mean to be that great a dancer, I’m certain you’re talking six days a week when they were young … maybe eight, 10 hours a day sometimes. That type of dancing is—you have to have the talent and skill level, aptitude, and then hard training. And you can see that in all of them,” he said.

“I’ve already recommended it to my friends. It’s beautiful, very artistic, and worth coming to and enjoying,” he said.

With reporting by Gary Wang and Sally Appert.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.

San Jose, United States
Shen Yun New York Company