WASHINGTON—Shen Yun Performing Arts took the stage at The Kennedy Center Opera House on Wednesday evening, March 21, bringing profound feelings to the audience.
“The colors were amazing. Every piece of the show was amazing. I hadn’t been to a show in many years that made tears come to my eyes, so thank you very much,” said Bruce Hollywood, strategic planner for the U.S. Government.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” says the website of the New York-based company. “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.”
Unfortunately, the Chinese Communist Party nearly decimated this traditional culture, according to Shen Yun’s website. However, Shen Yun’s mission is to revive this ancient cultural treasure for the world to see.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Mr. Hollywood. “I think it will actually help the people, the Western people, accept the culture because they get to feel the emotion together. Breaking down the boundaries of different cultures, makes everyone better.”
At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive dance forms, and one of the hardest to master, in the world, according to Shen Yun’s website.
Mr. Hollywood referred to the emotion of the performance, such as when he was asked what touched him to the point of tearing up.
“The emotion, just through their bodies and the music,” he said. “It’s amazing that you can feel the emotion—so I secretly wiped the tears so that people around me didn’t see.”
Shen Yun criss-crosses the globe to convey the rich culture through performing arts. Yet, despite treating audiences to uplifting performances in top venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center and The Hague’s Lucent Danstheater, Shen Yun cannot currently enter China because of the oppressive state under communist rule.
“It is outside of China that Shen Yun’s artistic creators have the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture,” states the music and dance company’s website. “Their courage to speak up is an integral part of Shen Yun’s spirit.”
Apart from the beauty of the performance, Mr. Hollywood commented on the message he took home. “It was a message that I wasn’t really aware of—the difficulties of the people having the freedom to practice and express their faith the way they would like to. It’s a good message and it resonates for Americans too, because part of what this country was about was the freedom to express ourselves in whatever manner without fear.”
Mr. Hollywood was already planning on telling his friends they should go see Shen Yun.
“Tomorrow I will tell many friends that they have to go because it’s beautiful, it’s exciting and it’s emotional—it is something that they’ve got to experience,” he said. “I think there will be many coming, from the people here when they go tell their friends.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at The Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C., through April 1.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org