Shen Yun Brings Culture to Life, Enchants Audiences

January 5, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts brought its world-renowned presentation of classical Chinese dance and music to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 3.

Based in New York, Shen Yun’s mission is to bring to life 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history through music and dance. The company has toured the world for nine years, delighting audiences with an all-new show each year.

“The dancers do such amazing things, with such beauty and grace,” said engineer Jonathan Harris, who attended the Jan. 3 evening performance with his daughter.

“They leap high into the air and spin around, and it just looks natural and beautiful and flowing,” Mr. Harris said.

“The dancers do such amazing things, with such beauty and grace.”
— Mr. Harris

According to Shen Yun’s website, classical Chinese dance “is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics. Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power.”

“It was a really wonderful opportunity for me to bring my daughter here and give her some exposure to Chinese classical dance,” said Mr. Harris, whose daughter is half Chinese.

He was moved by the stories and legends from Chinese history told through the dance pieces.

“They’re really about what it’s like to be human over thousands of years,” he said.

Mr. Harris was also impressed by Shen Yun’s live orchestra, which combines Chinese and Western musical traditions for a unique sound.

Human Connectedness, Values

Also in attendance were real estate agents Bob and Kat Bedbury, who have felt a connection with Chinese people and culture since they visited China in 2010.

“We’re all connected. We may look different on the outside, but we’re all connected, and there is a spiritual realm to us,” she said. “We live in America and we have the freedom that we have, [but] we still have people that we’re connected to that are not free.”

In addition to ancient legends, Shen Yun depicts modern-day tales of oppression, kindness, and courage in China.

“It’s impressive!” Mrs. Bedbury said. “I cried a couple of times … it was just very moving.”

“I encourage them to do more and more, and more of this,” said Mr. Bedbury. “It was spectacular.”

“I cried a couple of times … it was just very moving.”
— Mrs. Bedbury

Another audience member, Marilyn Betz, appreciated the moral values expressed in the performance.

“I hope it will inspire the youth in America to achieve a greater morality and personal ethics that will have a positive influence on society and the world,” said Ms. Betz, who is self-employed.

According to Shen Yun’s website, part of Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese cultural values, which were nearly destroyed under communist rule.

“I love that they’re teaching young people not only beautiful skills but teaching their character, growing their character,” said Ms. Betz. “There’s a lack of that in the world today.”

“I loved hearing about all the history of the Chinese people, wonderful people!” she said with tears in her eyes.

‘Everything was perfect’

Retired teacher and flight attendant Maribeth Benham loved everything about Shen Yun, calling it “marvelous” and “magnificent.”

“The performance, the music, the singers, I just loved it,” she said. “I thought it was absolutely beautiful. We sat up close, and I don’t like to sit up close because you see the little discrepancies, but not in this one. Everything was perfect.”

“We said when we were leaving we could sit there for another hour or more to watch it. It was beautiful!” Ms. Benham said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Sally Appert.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

The 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.