NEWARK, N.J.—Leslie Duverge has been talking about Shen Yun Performing Arts since the beginning of the year. She has recommended it to friends and shared her excitement since it was announced that Shen Yun was returning to Lincoln Center in January.
“I have seen it numerous times in New York,” Ms. Duverge said, except she missed it there this time. She wanted to attend with her friends, but was not able to make the March return of Shen Yun at Lincoln Center either. So she and a friend made sure to catch opening night at NJPAC on April 29.
“The performance was wonderful,” she said. “It’s always something different, something completely different from the [previous] one.”
“I love history and I love the heritage of this culture, and that’s really what attracted me to come every year. Really. It’s amazing,” Ms. Duverge said.
This history is of 5,000 years, and the heritage is said to be divinely inspired. When audience members sigh at how divine the soprano’s voice was or use it to describe a Tibetan folk dance, they sometimes use the adjective quite literally. Much of the Chinese civilization, as Shen Yun’s program explains, was passed down from the gods.
“I really connected to heaven and God sometimes,” Ms. Duverge said. Though it is not her own culture, she seems to have found a special connection to the traditional Chinese culture.
“I love it! It’s something that you learn so much from, really. I think it’s really educational and everybody should have the chance to at least see this show, because it connects you with ancient times,” and shows you what the culture is really about, she said.
Years ago, Ms. Duverge stumbled upon meditators in Central Park who sparked in her a special kind of interest in China. They were practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice teaching truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, that originated in China. Yet there was controversy stirred up by the Chinese regime, she found, as the practice was banned by the regime and persecuted since 1999.
Through this group, she heard about Shen Yun Performing Arts, a New York-based company that seeks to revive the traditional Chinese culture through the arts. Traditional values and beliefs, after all, had been nearly destroyed when communism took power in China in 1949, and the regime sought to systemically uproot what had come before it.
Shen Yun’s program is put together to show what had been passed down for thousands of years but is no longer found in China today. Water sleeves of Sui Dynasty court dancers, a retelling of the tale of the Lady of the Moon, and the poets of the Orchid Pavilion are brought to life for one night, and with them the heritage of 5,000 years seems alive.
Reporting by NTD Television and Catherine Yang
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.