COSTA MESA, Calif.—Deborah Sharpnack, an administrative assistant to the principal at an elementary school, said on Wednesday evening that she was going to dream all night of her experience watching Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
“I’m still in awe,” she said after the performance. “It’s unforgettable. Unforgettable.”
Shen Yun has touched the hearts of millions since its founding in New York in 2006. A performance treats the audience to a series of classical Chinese dance vignettes with all original choreography, costuming, live orchestral music by the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra, and vibrant, projected backdrops that interact seamlessly with the performers, showcasing 5,000 years of Chinese history in one night.
“Amazing, spectacular, incredible,” gushed Ms. Sharpnack. “Peaceful, enlightening, just a wonderful story. A beautiful perspective from a beautiful culture and people.”
Ms. Sharpnack became misty-eyed as she spoke, saying it was hard not to cry during the performance.
Shen Yun is a platform for the revival of the true, traditional culture of China, which was once known as Shen Zhou, or the Divine Land. Yet the performance cannot be seen in China today, where spiritual values have been crushed under the atheist ideology of the communist regime.
This tragedy of China’s modern history is also addressed during the performance. Shen Yun, however, clearly radiates with a positive vision of China’s future.
“The hope that was expressed in the performance, I think overshadowed the sadness in the culture,” said Ms. Sharpnack, who was left with a feeling of both “happy and sad joy.”
“It did bring joy,” she explained. “It really touched me right to the heart.”
Shen Yun’s artists follow the traditional cultural practice of looking towards the divine for inspiration. “This spiritual connection is motivation for striving to excel, is the heart behind each movement of the dancer and each note of the musician,” states Shen Yun’s website.
Ms. Sharpnack could feel a heavenly influence from the performance. “The colors of China came alive in this production, I believe, in a divine, heavenly sense,” she said. “The actors, the performers [have] incredible talents, divine gifts.”
She was especially touched by a dance piece in which a group of young ladies twirl pink handkerchiefs in celebration.
“Not just the acrobatics and the choreography, but the color, the background, the video, all of it integrated together. It was in some ways kind of mind-blowing. There was a lot to take in,” said Ms. Sharpnack.
The performance brought out many emotions for Ms. Sharpnack, but overall she felt an incredible warmth for the Chinese people. To sum up her experience in one word, she said, “Wow!”
The theatergoer said she would be recommending Shen Yun to everyone she saw at her school.
“I would love to come back,” she said. “And I’ll never forget it.”
A Wonderful, Fabulous, Educational Experience
Nelida Mendoza, a paralegal with the County of Orange and a trustee with the Rancho Santiago Community College District, was also in the Shen Yun audience on Wednesday evening.
“It was wonderful, fabulous,” said Ms. Mendoza. “The whole performance was very enjoyable.”
Since Ms. Mendoza is involved in education, she appreciated the educational aspect of Shen Yun, which tells stories from all ages of Chinese history.
“It brings some true experiences of what’s happening around the world,” she said.
The dancers themselves were very impressive to Ms. Mendoza, who praised their professionalism, skills, and physique.
She said she enjoyed how all the different musical instruments in the orchestra added to the performance, especially the harp and the traditional Chinese instruments. She also appreciated Shen Yun’s emcees, who introduce the performance, along with each dance vignette, and give helpful and sometimes humorous background information.
Ms. Mendoza also felt an element of faith during the performance.
“The message and the songs were that we work very hard, here on earth, but we’re really waiting … ,” she said.
Overall, she said it was a great experience, very entertaining, and included good cultural values.
“I would definitely recommend it for people to come and experience this beautiful performance,” said Ms. Mendoza.
Reporting by NTD Television and Sarah Le
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.