NEWARK—Shen Yun Performing Arts dazzles audiences with stunning costumes, athletic dances, resounding music, complete with an animated backdrop.
Often, audience members have a hard time singling out which element of the production they like the most.
Nancy Powers, psychotherapist, was one of them. After watching the performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on May 1, she said she liked the “dramatic arts, the creativity, the fashion, the color, [and] the artistic beauty.”
The New York-based classical Chinese dance company is wrapping up its 2019 touring season, in which six equally-large contingents will have traveled to 130 cities across four continents. Founded in 2006, the company’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture through the arts.
Nancy attended the performance with her husband Ed, a retired systems analyst, who said he learned a lot about the culture and history of China from the dances, stories, and songs presented by the company.
A stand-out piece for the couple was a story set in today’s China depicting the communist regime’s persecution of a young woman who practiced spiritual discipline Falun Gong.
“I was saddened to know that the faith was suppressed in China,” said Nancy.
However, the story also made her appreciate the freedom of expression enjoyed in America.
A key takeaway from the performance was the power of beauty and the arts.
“[The] message I got was the human spirit, and the human spirit surviving and thriving and the creativity and the beauty, and how the arts can transform a soul, the arts can show the history of a country and the beauty of our people,” Nancy said.
Actress Victoria Witte, who also attended the performance in Newark, said Shen Yun brought an awareness of Chinese culture to the city.
“I love experiencing it through the theater because it’s such a first, it’s such an immersive experience, that you really get to see everything. You get to see the people, you get to see the clothing, you get to hear the stories, and it’s amazing,” she said.
One of Witte’s favorite programs was a story from the classic text “Journey to the West.”
“I’m a really big fan of the Journey [to the] West, so as soon as I saw they had the bit about the Monkey King and everything, I was like ‘yes, this is it,'” she said.
“I just loved everything … I felt like I was going to cry, felt like I was going to laugh, it was just a really great experience.”
The first-time watcher of Shen Yun was won over by the production.
“I’m definitely coming back next year,” Witte said. “I love it, and I’m excited for the next one even though it’s far off.”
With reporting by Sherry Dong and NTD Television.
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.