BERKELEY, Calif.—Victor Estevez has watched Shen Yun Performing Arts every year for five years.
“I come back every year because it’s like a recharge [of] my spirit and myself,” said Estevez, national sales director of a catering company in the San Francisco Bay Area. “[It’s] recharging my batteries.”
Estevez attended the performance at Zellerbach Hall on Dec. 13., the very start of the season. Shen Yun is the premiere classical Chinese dance company, with the mission to revive traditional Chinese culture, and has been touring the globe since 2006.
Estevez said the performance’s positive energy invigorates his body, mind and spirit, and keeps him coming back for more. This energy is emitted from the dancers, music, as well as all other elements that make up the performance, he said.
“All the positive energy is in the show,” Estevez said.
Indeed, the performers and musicians in Shen Yun are able to bring this kind of positive energy because it seems to be inherent to the art forms.
Traditional Chinese values and beliefs emphasized living in harmony with heaven and earth, and striving for personal moral improvement. This cultural essence is conveyed in classical Chinese dance through the refinement of inner bearing, called yun. Complete expression is achieved only when movement is driven by inner meaning and emotions. Shen Yun performers, therefore, focus on cultivating their character to ensure the feelings conveyed by their dance mirror their inner world.
Estevez, basking in this energy, said he was moved by the performance.
“[It] helps you to relax and to think about [a] better future,” he said.
The sales director said he also enjoyed being able to learn about the culture, history, and spiritual dimension of China’s long history.
Estevez said beyond the beauty of what he saw, he was also bringing with him “part of the history of the religion, and understanding some of the spiritual moments that Chinese culture has.”
The 5,000-year ancient Chinese civilization was built upon belief in the divine. Shen Yun Performing Arts seeks to revive this divinely-inspired culture by depicting myths, legends, celestial paradises, and divine beings on stage.
The stories told through dance showed this spirituality in divine worlds, mystical beings, and even the act of meditation.
Estevez said he understood meditation to be a big part of Chinese culture.
That is indeed the case. Meditation has traditionally been part of Buddhist religions in China and other countries, used as a means to achieve spiritual elevation and enlightenment.
Today, the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, includes meditation exercises. It also teaches practitioners to improve their moral character by living under the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Many of the artists practice Falun Dafa themselves.
However, because the Chinese communist regime persecutes the practice, Shen Yun Performing Arts is not allowed to perform in Mainland China.
Estevez said there should be no barriers when it comes to art, music, and meditation—things fundamental to the culture.
“It should be allowed everywhere in the world,” he said.
Estevez implored everyone to go see the show, saying it was beautiful and informative.
“But the most important part [is] you are gonna feel the positive energy of everybody. The spiritual connection between you and the dancers is there,” he said.
“That’s why you have to come in and see the show.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Cathy He.
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.