NEW YORK—Through Shen Yun Performing Arts, Floy Fenelon felt connected to the universe.
“It connected almost like coming from way, way above the sky. It’s all interlocked, you know. Like a star coming down, the moon coming down, the sun coming down. It’s like the universe, it’s all working together, all through the performance,” he said at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch theater Saturday evening on March 5. Mr. Fenelon attended the performance with Simone Fenelon, Keith Nation, and Judi Janen.
Mr. Fenelon’s profound idea had come from the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture, portrayed in brilliant color through dance, costume, and a digital backdrop by New York-based Shen Yun. It is the artists’ mission to revive the genuine, traditional Chinese culture, and they do so through music and dance, telling stories from China’s 5,000 years.
For Mr. Fenelon, seeing the performance was like seeing a better vision of the world, reinforcing his belief in what collective dreamers are capable of.
“There’s a collectiveness of performance, the synchrony from one act to the next. Everything is really interlocked from the big picture, so it pretty much came through for me,” Mr. Fenelon said.
Mr. Nation similarly felt that Shen Yun was almost like a dream, and Ms. Janen felt there was almost a surreal atmosphere created in the performance.
It was also “definitely eye-opening” in terms of understanding the Chinese culture, Mr. Nation said. And that inspired him. The art inspired him to aspire to higher purposes than material gain.
“It inspires you to make something of your life,” he said.
Effie Hatzi, a structural engineer, attended the same performance with a friend, and similarly felt a connectedness.
“The philosophies are part of the vast universe, all of us, we [are] interrelated,” Ms. Hatzi said.
Traditional Chinese culture is said to be divinely inspired, and for Ms. Hatzi, it was just that.
“Phenomenal, the way they present the Chinese culture is unreal,” Ms. Hatzi said. She was touched to learn about Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation practice popular in China today, which upholds the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. These are much like the beliefs of the ancient Chinese, still repressed in communist China today.
She felt, seeing the philosophies of these values, that we are all connected.
“We are interrelated in this universe. We have a way, and we have to have the way back to heaven. To get ourselves way back to the heaven,” she said. The performance reinforced that possibility for her.
“The experience is mesmerizing. For my soul, it is mesmerizing. It gives you a soothing [experience], and in your soul, feel like there is hope, you feel whole again, back to God,” she said.
“The philosophy behind it is unbelievable,” she said, adding that she hoped Shen Yun would bring this knowledge to more people.
This old culture, with its profound philosophies and ancient art forms, is still little known in the West despite its 5,000 years.
Mr. Ishaq Nadiri, the Jay Gould Professor of Economics at NYU, felt that time was due.
“It’s one of the oldest cultures in the world, so one should know more about it,” said Mr. Nadiri, who has led a global career. He was a signatory of the 2001 Bonn meetings that created the Interim Government in Afghanistan and a participant in talks in Tokyo, the White House, and UN Security Council meetings that covered the funding of Afghanistan’s reconstruction. He also served as Senior Economic Advisor to Afghanistan’s president in 2002, and was given the highest civilian award for his work.
“In this country we need to learn more about the culture of China. These are pieces that are indicative of that and that’s good,” he said.
He felt a sense of participation in the pieces. “This is based on a very deep culture, this just simply presents a slice of it,” he said. For instance one dance showed the Manchurian court ladies of the Qing Dynasty, and another the vast grasslands of Mongolia and the characteristics of its people. “The ability, the agility of the performers is really quite beautiful … all of the pieces were gorgeous.”
Reporting by 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.