NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Five thousand years of Chinese culture is being restored to the world by Shen Yun Performing Arts. Lives in ancient China all looked to the divine for inspiration, and life principles were rooted in values like compassion. This concept was echoed throughout all ancient cultures.
Jean Gillmore and her mother, Barbara, experienced Shen Yun Performing Arts on April 19 at Valley Performing Arts Center. They were fascinated by the importance of the ancient Chinese principles for people today.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Ms. Gillmore, “I hope that ultimately this brings all the world together. There’s a lot of strife out there and anything that helps, I think would be good and may unite people.”
“We need to keep this alive in the world, all the different cultures, there has to be exposure,” she added.
Ms. Gillmore is a visual development artist who has worked for some of the largest studios in the world. Her resume includes Walt Disney and Universal animation studios, Mattel Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, and so on. She also believes in giving back through philanthropy. She has volunteered as a hospital “art therapist” for Kaiser Permanente.
The performers in Shen Yun strive to perfect their art, and present this perfection in their storytelling through dance, song, and music. This principle of perfection can be seen as a connection to the culture’s roots and divine inspiration.
The company website states, “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. 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. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
This divine inspiration piqued Ms. Gillmore’s interest, as she had not known how deeply infused it was in the ancient Chinese culture.
“I feel like there’s a lot of real dedication radiating from the stage,” Ms. Gillmore said. “It makes me curious about the culture, much more!”
Because Ms. Gillmore often works with animation and costume design development for characters from different cultures and historical content, she found the costumes, historical deities, and characters particularly interesting.
“I love the colors and the movements. The women are so graceful,” she said, “The coordination, the choreography, everybody’s so attractive!”
She loved the drums in the segment “Drums of the Grasslands,” an ethnic Mongolian dance, which is powerful and masculine. The program book describes a hearty group of horsemen galloping across the green grasslands. Each rider carries a paddle drum, and they exhibit a joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic dance that brings up images of flying eagles and wild stallions.
“I just love that last number with the drumming, it was fantastic!”
Barbara Gillmore was delighted to see the idea of reincarnation included in the legends and ancient culture.
Ms. Gillmore added, “She’s a huge believer in that [reincarnation] and I’m kind of investigating it.”
“More people need to be exposed to the idea,” said Barbara.
Absolutely certain she will recommend Shen Yun to others, Ms. Gillmore began thinking about who she will include in the list.
“I’m thinking of a friend right now with a small daughter who is Chinese-American, you must get her…she’s a little young but,” she added, “I know tons of people who would be very interested in this!”
Reporting by Yaning and Cheryl Casati
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.