KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Tonight grace and power were juxtaposed for Michael Cleason, and for this wife, Shannon Scanlon, it was beauty and oppression. They had just seen Shen Yun Performing Arts at the stately Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on April 1.
The Olathe, Kansas, couple with three young boys, Mr. Cleason, an accountant, and Ms. Scanlon, a stay-at-home mother, thoroughly enjoyed the gracefulness of classical Chinese dance, which is the centerpiece of Shen Yun.
“We were just talking about how the women are so graceful, and then I actually thought the men were really graceful as well,” said Mr. Cleason. “There was a combination of grace and power with the men, and this is beautiful.”
In the span of just over two hours, Shen Yun takes the audience on a journey through Chinese history. Relying on story-based dance and music, the grandness of China’s ancient culture is brought to life on stage.
“I love the music because it’s just not like the music we hear traditionally hear when you go to a performance,” Mr. Cleason said.
Shen Yun is reviving ancient Chinese culture, a culture almost completely destroyed by Communist rule through its various campaigns such as the Cultural Revolution. Many of the performers practice Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong—a peaceful meditation practice that is being persecuted in China, and is depicted in several of the dances.
“I got … teary eyed,” said Ms. Scanlon, feeling moved by what she had seen prior to intermission. “I don’t like to think about people being oppressed like that, having their culture destroyed when it’s such a beautiful thing that has been going on for so long. That got to me a little bit.”
Mr. Cleason agreed. He believes that Shen Yun provides a means of “celebrating and escaping” from what he calls China’s current closed-mindedness.
“I appreciate that they’re coming and showing us a piece of their culture, their arts. It’s beautiful to see; I enjoyed it a lot,” he said.
“I appreciate that we get to see something that they can’t do over there freely, so [I] feel special seeing it,” Ms. Scanlon said.
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.