COSTA MESA, Calif.—Shen Yun Performing Arts excited and awed the audience at a sold-out showing in the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Jan. 30.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s millennia-old culture by bringing it to the stage through dance and music. As China’s culture is deeply spiritual, many of the stories convey messages and wisdom from the ages, which touch the hearts of audiences.
“What I’m feeling most from the show is to take time for myself, the idea of the meditation, to be with myself, and to trust my own compassion,” said Isa Nazarian, a martial arts instructor, “to really trust my heart and that decision to be kind to people. And that it’s a contagious action.”
Shen Yun is on a mission to revive China’s culture because the current regime in China has actively destroyed and undermined traditional culture. The Shen Yun website explains: “Forcing atheism upon society, the Chinese Communist Party has for decades launched various campaigns—most notably the Cultural Revolution—to destroy not only cultural sites, temples, and relics, but also the Chinese people’s belief in virtue and faith in the divine.”
Two of the pieces in Shen Yun depict China today and, in particular, Falun Dafa, a meditation practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999. These stories spoke to Mr. Nazarian.
“A lot of people think they can’t make a difference,” he said, “but this show actually inspires a movement of heart. It’s really an unseen thing. An unseen power.”
“And I was feeling like it’s making a huge impact to be able to tell the message about what’s happening in China, which is very important because it’s not just happening in China, there’s a lot of oppression happening all over the place,” he continued. “My heart really goes out to the people who are suffering the oppression in China.”
Mr. Nazarian said he felt the power of the arts to inspire, and to connect people to something greater.
“Watching the arts and watching a dance, it’s like a code into the spirit,” he said. “Involving yourself and watching a live performance is a form of freeing your mind, and freeing your heart.”
“That’s why in China, they stop it,” he said, referring to Shen Yun not being allowed to perform in China. “They don’t allow people to perform and they don’t allow performers.”
“It’s not obvious how dance and how art can change the world. But the people who have power, they know the power behind it. That’s why when people are oppressed, they stop art,” he said. “Because art, like [Shen Yun] says, it connects heaven and earth, to the people.”
Roxanna Watrous, a business litigation and intellectual property attorney, also saw the importance of what Shen Yun conveyed, “a message about peace and meditation and strength and forgiveness.”
And like Mr. Nazarian, she was sorry that Shen Yun can’t be seen inside China.
“It’s something that clearly can’t be broadcast in China, which I feel bad for,” she said, “but I like that we’ve allowed in America the stage and access for beautiful dance for a beautiful message.”
With reporting by Yaning Liu, Mandy Huang, and Ben Bendig
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.