VENICE, Fla.—A small city about 20 miles south of Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Venice is a target location for retirees from the North—snowbirds seeking a warmer climate.
Fortunate for those wintering in Venice this year, as well as for the year-round residents, Shen Yun will perform in the city for the first time ever.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts comes with a mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture.
Thanks to a unique partnership between the Sarasota County School Board and the City of Venice, the Venice Performing Arts Center opened its doors in late 2014 with the slogan “Where Arts and Education Meet.”
Shen Yun will help Venice bridge the arts and education on Feb. 6 and 7, with a total of three performances.
A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance, Shen Yun’s website says.
On Jan. 5, Shen Yun began its tour through the Sunshine State, beginning in Lakeland.
There, Barri Lester, a music teacher and previously a student of Chinese medicine, described Shen Yun as “beyond phenomenal.” She noted how throughout the performance, she felt very alive, with a sense of wholeness.
“In less than two hours, [Shen Yun] connects you to all the structures of the universe, to sound, to the stars, to our planet, to our own spirit and light,” Ms. Lester said.
Shen Yun has also inspired theatergoers with its performances in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Melbourne, and St. Petersburg this year.
On Jan. 17, in Jacksonville, a family of women spanning three generations—grandmother, mother, and daughter—experienced Shen Yun together.
Blythe Byrd, in the middle generation and executive director of the United Way of Putnam County, Florida, was moved by the compassion and rich culture exhibited onstage. “I think the best way to get people to want to learn more is [to] show them beauty and compassion in any given culture,” she said.
Ms. Blythe’s daughter, Dakota Byrd, said she felt that the destruction of the culture that is happening in China today is terrible. “I’m really glad that something like this exists,” she said of Shen Yun.
A dancer, Dakota Byrd said she appreciated all the talent onstage. And she described the performance as “full-on compassion.”
The grandmother, Sharon Echemendia, a retired accountant, added: “It made me laugh. It made me cry,” demonstrating Shen Yun’s ability to touch a person at the core.
Tears of Joy
On Jan. 13, Kathryn Kranz attended Shen Yun’s performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Ms. Kranz said she would take the experience with her for a very long time, and she thanked the artists for offering this gift.
“It absolutely gives you hope, and that’s why I think everybody left with a smile on their face,” she said. “Yes, maybe tears in their eyes, but tears of joy.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Adam Miller
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.