ST. PAUL, Minn.—Shen Yun Performing Arts is in the midst of its 2019 tour and completed its stop at St. Paul on a high note performing to a full house on Feb. 17. Many Minnesotans at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts have expressed delight at experiencing such a unique dance and music production, and are looking forward to seeing it return next year.
Audience members like musician Roger Ferrell and his wife, Linda, were enthralled by the dozens of dancers who moved in perfect unison with the harmonious notes that flowed from the accompanying orchestra.
“It’s really fantastic. The costumes are wonderful. I love the backdrop … so skillful, so artful,” Ferrell said, adding that he was enchanted by the gracefulness of the dancing.
Linda shared similar sentiments to her husband while also praising the choreography.
She said, “The choreography was fantastic. Each dancer was doing his own thing, and then it came together and together, and it was just beautiful. And I know they worked hard on that choreography. It was just stunning.”
The couple attended the performance with Sandra Martinez and Linda Weisbrich.
Martinez said she enjoyed seeing traditional values being portrayed on stage, like the beauty and femininity of the female dancers, as well as the strength and masculinity of the male dancers.
“I like the way it portrayed the women as feminine and soft and beautiful. But when they needed to be, they could be strong and get what needed to be done, done. And the men were portrayed to be men, and they could protect themselves and others if they had to, but they also had a really nice and caring, funny side,” she said.
It is these values and virtues that Shen Yun is trying to revive. The New York-based company’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of traditional culture and values and bring it back to the world through performing arts, according to Shen Yun’s website. It draws its inspiration from the vast history of Chinese civilization as well as the inner spiritual core of China’s culture.
Traditional Chinese culture is replete with virtues and values that stem from China’s semi-divine traditional culture. Concepts such as “respect the heavens to know one’s destiny,” and “man and nature must be in balance” gathered deep meaning over thousands of years of history, as did the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness.
The ancient Chinese were deeply influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and other spiritual disciplines. By having a strong reverence for the divine and belief in concepts like retribution, they strove to live upright and moral lives.
But this all changed after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power in 1949. The CCP sees traditional Chinese culture as its rival and sought to systematically eradicate traditional culture and replace it with Mao Zedong’s way of thinking and style of discourse, as Shen Yun explains on its website. This has had a catastrophic effect on Chinese society and traditional culture.
Weisbrich said she understands how some Chinese people do not want China to be ruled by communism anymore.
“I understand that they didn’t want that to rule their lives anymore. They want that to be gone. That’s the way I took that,” Weisbrich said.
“The government rule can be so oppressive to the people in man’s rule. I believe in being ruled by God,” she added.
With reporting by Sally Sun and Sherry Dong.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.