DALLAS—In Shen Yun Performing Arts, Pamela Schlueter saw freedom and joy.
“It’s wonderful, inspiring … you feel like there’s something inside of you, burning. You want to do better. You want to do better for our own society, and help others,” Ms. Schlueter said on Jan. 10 at the Winspear Opera House.
Her powerful experience was one of many as the New York-based company wrapped up ten of ten performances to a sold-out, packed house. It was twice as many performances as Shen Yun usually puts on in Dallas, and there was even discussion of adding more for the next season.
The freedom and joy Ms. Schlueter saw came from the performance’s expression of authentic, traditional Chinese culture. It is a divinely inspired culture no longer found in China today, under the communist regime. Yet it is one one Shen Yun seeks to revive. And Shen Yun’s efforts to share this culture with the world was inspiring, Ms. Schlueter said, so much so that just watching made her happy.
Of Another World
Mary and Katherine Bell, mother and daughter, said the performance was so moving it felt like they had been taken out of this world and into one of Shen Yun’s making.
Ms. Bell said the performance captivated her senses. That it was almost as if Shen Yun took things from the natural world and set them into motion, and “you felt it.”
“You just don’t see things like that anymore. Something so different, so uplifting, I’m in awe,” she said. “I was so caught up in what they were doing. It’s mesmerizing. I needed to remind myself to breathe and look around.”
Shen Yun’s performance of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization does often evoke feelings and images of worlds past, but Ms. Bell said it was also a world that felt familiar.
“In everything I saw, there was something that felt so different and foreign, yet at the same time familiar, like something you know.”
Mrs. Bell agreed: “It just stirred up emotion in you.”
The Bells said words could not sum up their experience; that magnificent, awesome, and breathtaking were not enough. Their experiences must have come from the dancers’ dedication and passion, they said.
Intrigued by the performance, Laura Kellogg had read through the program book and knew the dancers meditated and followed a spiritual practice themselves.
According to the program: “In ancient China, artists used to cultivate virtue. They believed that art was meant to celebrate the divine and nurture goodness.”
Shen Yun artists follow in that tradition and cultivate that goodness, she noted, and it really shows through in the performance.
“They just all have smiles on their faces. They seem at peace,” she said.
Ms. Kellogg, Nancy Holmes, and Belen Saldago, had also found the effect to be incredibly expressive. A gesture of a hand, the placement of their fingers, the expressions on their faces conveyed so much.
Belen, a student at Jack E. Singley academy, said “it feels like you’re immersed.”
“You forget yourself; I’m very focused on the stage and everything that’s going on there. You’re taken away,” Belen said. The stories conveyed such emotion she teared up.
Ms. Holmes said through the performers, audience members weren’t just viewers but actively learning about the diversity, the long civilization, stories, and the spiritual journey of China.
It was very real, Ms. Kellogg added. She said she had just been a little girl in the 1960s when the communist regime took power. As just a young child she was completely oblivious to what was going on in the destruction of traditional Chinese culture. But that is something that is evident today, and illuminated artistically in Shen Yun, she shared.
It is sad to remember, but “very fulfilling at the end,” Ms. Kellogg said. Ultimately, Shen Yun presented hope, in the last story depicted through dance and through the company’s mission.
Also in the audience was Janet Skinner, a retired educator, who felt similarly.
“I’ve been to China, and the old Chinese arts and values being squelched, you can see it,” Ms. Skinner said. But in Shen Yun, she could “really see the spiritual part of it [the culture], like the love and the compassion” in these arts.
The artists came from around the world and founded Shen Yun in New York in 2006. The performing arts company now has four companies of the same size touring the world simultaneously.
Shen Yun, which roughly translates into “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” performs mostly classical Chinese dance. The thousands of year-old dance form also serves as a foundation for the folk and ethnic dances performed that come from across China. The all-new performances each year are accompanied by an orchestra blending traditional Chinese instruments into the mix, and often feature bel canto solo vocalists.
Karin Reagan, a retired police officer, said it was imagination turned reality.
“Oh, it just makes you feel good. It makes you feel good about everything,” Ms. Reagan said.
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.