Of course, many audience members were surprised to discover that Shen Yun cannot perform in the Central Kingdom today.
“I wish the people in China could see this. They’d be proud,” said Michele Rousseau, who attended the performance with Anita Carlson, a real estate agent. Ms. Carlson agreed that the deplorable state of China today goes too unnoticed: “There’s oppression that needs to be acknowledged.”
Shen Yun is on a mission to restore 5,000 years of traditional heritage nearly ruined at the hands of the ruling communist regime—the party’s oppression of the spiritual practice Falun Gong is particularly notable, as portrayed during the evening. Through music and dance, each performance seeks to rekindle the true Chinese spirit that’s been decimated over the last 60 years of communist rule.
Ms. Carlson and Ms. Rousseau were impressed by the wonders presented through each artistic facet of Shen Yun.
According to Shen Yun’s website, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”
“The sets are stunning, the costumes are stunning, the dancers were wonderful,” said Ms. Carlson.” I think it’s just very visual: the costuming, and the sets, and the way they are coming down from the sky. And it brings you in. It’s very relaxing, and the orchestra is spectacular.”
“I think it’s very, very lovely,” said Ms. Rousseau. “It’s been a great day. We never had a chance to share this opportunity together, so we’re really happy. We’re just in Heaven—literally.”
Also in the audience was Shirley Strandell, who works in marketing. Ms. Strandell bought Shen Yun tickets for herself and a friend as Christmas gifts.
She said she was saddened by the oppression that lives on in China today. “In some places, it is kind of sad,” she said. “It was very sad that places in the world still tend to suppress your opinion or suppress your faith or anything like that. It is tough to watch.”
Yet, she was uplifted by Shen Yun’s persistence in carrying the rich traditions of ancient China around the world for all to see. “Fantastic! Fantastic that they are not even allowed to do them in China,” she said. “We are lucky and blessed that they can bring it to us here. I think it’s quite an experience for anyone that wants to get up out of their chair and go see it.”
Tom and Elizabeth Davis received their Shen Yun tickets as a Christmas gift as well. “So we have been anticipating this for quite a while,” said Mrs. Davis, who used to be a dancer, gymnast, and gymnastics teacher.
“The whole package was terrific,” she said.
“It was unique,” added Mr. Davis. “Things that we don’t often see.”
Mrs. Davis said she was also impressed by the performance’s history lessons.
Since Chinese history stretches back 5,000 years, Shen Yun is able to draw upon a limitless supply of tales, “making it possible to revive this ancient culture on a present-day stage,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
“And then the history that they had, the history of the past dynasties,” said Mrs. Davis. “Of course, it was a snippet of everything, but it gives you a full flavor, a good general full flavor of the history and the dynamic that is China.”
Reporting by Michael Green and Michael Fitzgerald
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.