Shen Yun Broadens Theatergoers’ Views of the World

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The beauty of divine beings dancing on stage was such that it brought Mrs. Salpi Doering to tears.

It brought “just feelings of love and happiness,” said Mrs. Doering, a financial planner, who saw Shen Yun Performing Arts with her husband Torsten Doering, a college professor, at the Shea’s Performing Arts Center on April 23.

The name “Shen Yun,” as the emcees explained, translates roughly into “the beauty of divine beings dancing.” Shen means divine, and yun is the feeling behind a movement, and a core characteristic of the classical Chinese dance the New York-based company performs.

“The performance was beautiful,” Mrs. Doering said. The cohesiveness between the dancers, the East-West orchestra, the digital backdrop, and the stories had made it a “a pleasure to watch.”

“They did an impeccable job, really very beautiful,” Mrs. Doering said.

Mr. Doering said he’d initially been drawn to the performance because it seemed like such an audio-visual experience.

“The dances are really very perfect,” he said. The effect was that he got into the flow of the story-based dances, the ethnic and folk dances, and was “taken to another place,” both in terms of imagination and rational thought.

He experienced the celebratory dances of farmers after a bountiful harvest and of Tibetans in the Himalayas, as well as what it meant to see a “divine culture,” as Shen Yun describes the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

“It is something different that gets you out of your regular thinking patterns, right?” he said. “It gets you out of your world for a little while.”

Mike Guarino enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at Shea's Performing Arts Center on April 23, 2016. (Sherry Dong/Epoch Times)
Mike Guarino enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on April 23, 2016. (Sherry Dong/Epoch Times)

Mike Guarino, a lawyer, was also in attendance for the first of two performances in Buffalo, New York.

“As the show was progressed, I realized that there was more to it than just a visual, there is a message as well,” Mr. Guarino said. For him, that message was an awareness of what China really is, both then and now.

Five thousand years ago it was a land of people whose civilization was believed to be a gift from the gods, as shown in the opening piece depicting China’s creation myth. As the story-based dances progressed, Mr. Guarino witnessed tales of China’s modern history as well.

He realized that the faith that held together a civilization of 5,000 years was now something to be persecuted for. Mr. Guarino alluded to one of the dances, “Monks and the Red Guard,” that told a story of the Chinese Cultural Revolution when students were inducted to raze temples and burn books. Despite the heavy topic, the story is one of the more comedic of the dances performed, and actually gave Mr. Guarino encouragement.

“I think that’s great,” he said of the awareness Shen Yun was raising. “It makes me think that there is some things happening across the globe, that we should be more aware of. Maybe we should take more care to possibly support.”

Mr. Guarino said he was surprised he was having such deep thoughts witnessing these performances on stage, and shared some of them with a reporter.

“I tell people that there are faithful people, I am one of the hopeful,” he said. In Shen Yun, he saw themes about human life, and what is beyond that.

“I hope there is more. More of everything, more that, after we are here, that our spirits live on,” he said. “Whatever that core piece of you, whatever that inner part is that makes you you, I hope that goes on.”

Lee Pufpaff and Amanda Pufpaff had similar feelings after watching Shen Yun Saturday evening as well.

Mrs. Pufpaff, an aesthetician and yoga and Pilates instructor, said she felt a good message and impressive energy from the performance.

“The realization, you know, with the divine and us kind of losing that connection, and you know, finding it and trying to keep it, and not being oppressed by you know power and just the forces that are out there,” she said. “So I thought it was a really good message.”

Mr. Pufpaff, a massage therapist, felt conviction in faith.

The modern world is a mess, he said, but change will only come if people realize there is a need for it. Mr. Pufpaff said he felt too many care about the wrong things and have lost the connection with the divine, and Shen Yun reaffirmed for him the need to “start believing in the right direction.”

It was “bringing everybody thinking together with love and compassion,” he said.

Reporting by NTD Television, Sally Sun, Sherry Dong, 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.

, Buffalo, United States
Shen Yun Touring Company