LONG BEACH, Calif.—”It is a message of hope,” said Mila Cangelosi after attending non-profit music and dance company Shen Yun Performing Arts. “It was magnificent. I’m very, very grateful to be here.”
Shen Yun, based in New York, was founded in 2006 with the mission “to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China and share it with the world,” according to the official website. The company produces an all-new program every year.
Ms. Cangelosi is a logistics systems specialist for the Department of Homeland Security, but she said her true love in life is the arts. She was happy to be invited to attend Shen Yun with a good friend at the Terrace Theater on Sunday, Feb. 8.
“I never had any idea of what this is about. … This is something I never dreamed that I would ever see, and I have to say bless you all for doing such an incredible job,” she said to the performers.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” states the Shen Yun website.
“But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” continues the website.
Ms. Cangelosi said the Shen Yun performance was very fulfilling for her, since she saw that people were spreading a message of goodness out in the world. She was also deeply touched by the spiritual beliefs within traditional Chinese culture that were expressed throughout the performance, especially one portion that depicted the Lord Buddha coming down out of the clouds to save the world.
“It was absolutely glorious, remarkable, and that in particular was what touched my heart,” she said.
Ms. Cangelosi was also stunned by the performers themselves. Although they cannot perform or practice their faith in China, they did not appear downtrodden in the least. Instead, they exhibited an immense feeling of hope.
“This is freedom, absolute freedom,” said Ms. Cangelosi. “It was freedom that I could see people’s faith—faith to be able to express themselves and whatever they wish.”
“Anything is possible within their hearts, and I was just so pleasantly surprised,” she said.
Ms. Cangelosi was delighted to see a live orchestral accompaniment to the dance, saying the music was fabulous. She was also amazed by the interactive backdrop, which made the dancers appear to leap out of thin air and perform superhuman feats from ancient Chinese legends. She praised the skill of the dancers and the vibrant colors of their handmade costumes.
“They were alive,” she said of the costumes, which were different for each dance number. “It’s as if they were living on the bodies of the dancers, who are just exquisite in every way, absolutely exquisite.”
“Shen Yun is unbelievable,” she said. “I hope and I pray that it goes all over the world forever and ever because it is extraordinary. In fact, I don’t know why they would have to even change it every year, because right now just the way it is, is perfect forever in my heart.”
‘We are born spiritual people’
Audience member Felicia Hunt, a marriage and family therapist intern, could barely contain her emotion in describing Shen Yun.
Ms. Hunt said the performance was very refreshing, and also timely for today’s society. She said so many people nowadays are rushing around and struggling with day-to-day life, and they forget to nourish their inner self. Thus, they often put themselves into situations that don’t reflect who they truly are.
As a therapist, she tries to bring out the soul of the person, who they really are, despite the difficulties or harm they may have endured.
“I would recommend all my clients and everyone to come and see this performance, because it is healing through song, through music. Music is spiritual. You may pick up the notes, but the harmony and the vibrations that come forth through the music, it’s the healing of the soul and your heart.”
Ms. Hunt said the synchronicity and the timing of all the different parts of the show were beautiful and perfect, and she could see how much work went into it. But the spiritual traditions of 5,000 years of genuine Chinese culture truly touched her heart.
“The message that they got across was no matter what the oppressions were, the spirit in you will make you live forever, and you will overcome insurmountable things. They had so many different scenarios that pointed that out,” she said. “If you believe that, and you have love, you can overcome anything.”
“Xie xie,” she said to the performers, which means “thank you” in Chinese. “I just loved them so much.”
She said she would be back next year or as soon as possible and bring more people. “It’s just phenomenal,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Sarah Le
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006