LOUISVILLE, Ky—”I think anybody’s path to Heaven is a wonderful gift, no matter how you get there. The fact that they believe in an afterlife and that the afterlife is good, and the way to get to the afterlife is through compassion, truthfulness, tolerance, that’s all good,” said Cheryl Shaheen.
The retired high teacher of physics, chemistry, and all manner of science, spoke from her heart after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company with her husband John, a retired businessman, at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, on Feb. 10.
And, as the Shen Yun production unfolded before their eyes, the couple were soon to find out that China was once known as the Celestial Empire. Moreover, 5,000 years ago, China’s culture was brought down from the heavens and divine beings and mortals co-existed.
But under the last 60 years of atheist communist rule, this divinely inspired culture had been almost completely destroyed.
Mr. Shaheen was astounded. “I never knew that about China. I’m 67, I never knew the part before communism. I was taken back by that. It sounded like it was a great country prior to that,” he said.
According to the company’s website, China is the only culture in the world to have a continuous recorded history of 5,000 years.
“It has left behind countless literary classics, historical documents, cultural relics, and national records reflecting its immense scope;” a treasure trove for Shen Yun Performing Arts to rekindle China’s cultural heritage on the world stage.
Mrs. Shaheen was enthralled. “I loved it, it was beautiful, it had a lot of eye candy, very spiritual and the dancing was beautiful, too. I was very impressed,” she said.
“The beautiful colors, just gorgeous, and it’s just very spiritual about the Falun Dafa. I really enjoyed it,” she said.
In a couple of vignettes, Shen Yun features story-based dances about Falun Dafa, which is based on spiritual teachings banned in China by the communist regime in 1999, but practiced by millions across the world.
“It had a lot of grace, a lot of dignity. It just made you feel good from the inside out,” Mrs. Shaheen said.
“You should cultivate that and be proud of it and not ban it. … It’s a terrible thing to deny your heritage and when you have a beautiful heritage like that, it’s very sad that you can’t express that in your own country anymore, very sad,” she said.
Her husband agreed. “That would be something we should all be proud of. That’s exactly how I feel, it’s a wonderful thing, but I know that people keep things down.
“I’ll see it again when [Shen Yun] comes back next year,” he said.
Mr. Shaheen used to sell women’s clothing and was told by a designer, he had an eye for color.
In that capacity, Mr. Shaheen praised the radiant colors imbued in the Shen Yun costumes.
“The colors were wonderful. Whoever put this line together, the colors are very good,” he said. He felt that the costume designers were gifted and “knew what they were doing.”
Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes; from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor; and from the traditional rightward cross-collared Han clothing to the ethnic attire of the Manchurian, Tibetan, Dai, Mongol, and Uyghur ethnic groups, the Shen Yun website says.
Mrs. Shaheen expressed gratitude to the company’s production team for its presentation.
“Thank you for sharing your culture with us, I appreciated it,” she said.
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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.