CHEYENNE, Wyo.—Mark Perkins, assistant dean of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming, attended a Shen Yun Performing Arts concert for the first time with his wife Sarah Perkins, a school psychologist in the Cheyenne school district, at the Cheyenne Civic Center on March 14.
“I think it’s fantastic … there’s a lot of synthesis between Chinese culture and [Western] culture … a universal commonality among people and I think this show connects within that,” said Mr. Perkins about the concert.
Mr. Perkins was amazed at how well the Shen Yun performance was choreographed. From the live orchestra that blends Eastern and Western instruments, to the classically trained dancers in conjunction with the company’s patented 3D animated backdrop, Mr. Perkins said “everything seems to be timed perfectly.”
“My favorite part is how it integrates the computer animation with the dance and also adds some educational value,” he said.
The cutting-edge digital backdrop allows the performers to seamlessly travel back and forth between the stage and the background, giving the audience a more interactive experience of the ancient wonders of China and even scenes of the heavens.
Since 2006, the New York Based Shen Yun has performed at top theatres worldwide with a mission to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture. Drawing upon ancient China’s Buddhist and Daoist philosophies, Shen Yun says its performances demonstrate “China before communism.”
“I think it’s very valuable to revive traditional culture … all people are essentially looking for their authentic selves and their authentic spiritual connection,” said Mr. Perkins.
“It’s important for people to [likewise] understand the cultural heritage of other cultures,” he added, “so I think it’s good that [Shen Yun] came to Cheyenne to share that with people in Wyoming.”
Mr. Perkins said he particularly appreciated the message in the last performance “about freedom of religion and the conflict with communism.”
Along with myths and legends from ancient times, Shen Yun presents story-based dances portraying the current persecution of Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong), a meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a persecution campaign against the spiritual practice and adherents have since been subjected to unprecedented imprisonment, torture, and abuse.
“All people should be free to express their own religious beliefs and I would hope that we can come to a place in the world where all people can do that,” he said.
“I think we need to be aware, here in America, of that oppression of others to preserve our own freedom of religion in the United States,” he added.
“I think art, such as [the Shen Yun performance], is an opportunity to be aware that this is a reality for over a billion people on this planet and we need to be mindful of that all over.”
Reporting by NTD and Jennifer Schneider.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.