HOUSTON—From folk dances to stories and mythology to classical Chinese dances depicting heavenly scenes, Shen Yun Performing Arts created a space of peace, calm, and enlightenment, said Jamie Edwards, after seeing the company’s final performance with her husband in Houston.
New York-based Shen Yun performed the last of 12 performances for its 10th season at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Jan. 2.
Mrs. Edwards said the performance was absolutely beautiful and “drew on the roots of the Chinese people,” creating a production that bridges cultures.
“Art and dance and music are a great non-language communicator,” she said. “It does bring people of all different faiths and backgrounds together.”
Formed in 2006, Shen Yun aims to revive traditional Chinese culture, which has a history of 5,000 years and is believed to be divinely inspired. The long history was once nearly lost, under the current communist regime which has launched a number of campaigns to systematically destroy the traditional culture because of its roots in spiritual beliefs.
But those roots came through, and created a positive effect for Mr. Edwards and a spiritual one for Mrs. Edwards.
“Whether you are Western or Eastern, I think everyone was experiencing the same thing,” Mrs. Edwards said.
“It was a very positive experience … I just have a good feeling coming away from the show,” Mr. Edwards said.
A Long Wait
For the Martinez family, it was an experience several years overdue.
For five or six years, Joseph Martinez said, he and his wife just could not make it to a performance one way or another. This year, they were finally in the right place at the right time, he said.
“We cannot describe it, you have to come see it,” Mr. Martinez said. “I mean, this is so detailed and intriguing … it is a little overwhelming—you have to see, you have to be here.”
For Mrs. Martinez, it was a performance that “brought tears to my eyes … it is good, like happy tears.”
The performance was equally inexplicable, yet touching, for Mr. and Mrs. Simmons, who had also waited years to see Shen Yun.
“It is hard for me to put it into words … it made my heart race,” said Patrick Simmons, a director at an oil and gas company, who attended the performance with his wife Sandy.
He described details like the sound of the hand fans, and full dances like the Mongolian ethnic dance, the unique aspects of the production like the animated backdrop, and the choreography, but felt it did not sum up the performance.
“I am moved by their performance,” Mr. Simmons said.
Dynamic and Divine
For engineer Tom Szytel, Shen Yun left him feeling “happy, divine, wonderful.”
“It was highly spiritual, very spiritual. I was not only feeling very very warm, but … just good, blessed, happy,” he said.
Mr. Szytel and Charlotte Cicatello, a graphic artist, were sitting in the second row, where they could see every expression of the performers, and every minute movement of their fingers. It was an amazing sight, Ms. Cicatello said, and one they would come to see again.
“It’s probably the most dynamically invigorating performance that I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Szytel said.
But it saddened the pair that Shen Yun cannot be seen in China due to the traditional beliefs it presents.
“That disturbs me. You cannot dance, meditate and pray in your own country,” Ms. Cicatello said.
But Mr. Szytel had hope for Shen Yun’s success in its mission to revive the culture.
“I think that the Shen Yun performances going around the world, providing the opportunities for others to see and try to understand the culture of China is important. Maybe it will bring the people of this world closer together,” he said.
Reporting by Sherry Dong, Stacy Chen, 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.