HOUSTON—As the curtain rose, theatergoers Crystal and Donald Brown were in awe feasting their eyes upon the colors, lights, and costumes of Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance company that presents traditional Chinese culture through music, dance, and stories.
The Browns, who chose to see Shen Yun this year rather than “The Nutcracker,” attended the Dec. 24 performance at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. They were unexpectedly amazed by the serene environment created by the culmination of the dances, orchestra, animated backdrop, and bel canto singing.
“It’s sort of a heavenly experience. This is what’s to come. This is what we’re to expect in the end, said Mrs. Brown, an analyst for the Internal Revenue Service. “It was divine. That’s the best way to describe it.”
The New York-based company founded in 2006 draws upon traditional Chinese myths and legends for many of the dance pieces performed. In the opening scene, mortals and divine beings unite on stage as one, a story not uncommon in ancient China. In the past, Chinese people long believed in virtue and faith in the divine. The vignettes that unfolded throughout the evening expressed principles like benevolence, justice, wisdom, and propriety, which left the Browns wanting to see more.
Mrs. Brown felt some of the scenes actually portrayed her spiritual beliefs, the songs “awakened the spiritual insight inside, and that the performance depicted heaven.
“It depicted that we’re all here for a reason and for a season, and that we’re on a journey, and that we’re from heaven, we came from heaven, and our journey is to get back to heaven, and if you’re good, then you will get back to heaven. Good people will get back to heaven. That’s what it depicted, and that’s what I believe,” Mrs. Brown said.
Overall, the Shen Yun performance transported her to a “very optimistic and spiritual type of world.”
“It was such a breathtaking experience,” Mrs. Brown said.
The performances come to life and transport the audience back in time through the use of an orchestra blending East and West and an animated backdrop that can make the dancers appear as if dancing in the clouds.
Mr. Brown was particularly impressed with the backdrops. “It really just brought it to life. The backdrops just did it for me because it was so colorful, so beautiful,” he said.
“It’s a show that’s worth coming back and telling our friends about and have them to come with us next time—this time, while it is here,” said Mr. Brown.
With stories and legends that span China’s history, Shen Yun performs a whole new show each year. The dance company has a vast repertoire to choose from since Chinese civilization has been documented and passed down for 5,000 years without interruption. The ideals conveyed by the dancers originate from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, which are the essence of traditional Chinese culture. Many of the chosen tales and characters depicted inspire audiences with moral convictions such as loyalty, selflessness, and tolerance.
“I mean you have to see it to actually enjoy all the work that’s put into it,” Mrs. Brown said. “It was fabulous, breathtaking, stunning.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Arleen Richards
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.
The 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.