CINCINNATI—Russell Hufford, stockbroker, and Ashley Hufford, personal finance coach, were impressed and emboldened by Shen Yun Performing Arts.
From Elsmere, Kentucky, the Huffords came to see Shen Yun, for the first time, at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati on Jan. 28.
“It was simply amazing … beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,” said Mr. Hufford. “I am so looking forward to coming back next year and seeing it again.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based pieces that tell tales from ancient times to the modern day.
Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture. The age-old culture has been on the brink of extinction since the Chinese communist regime seized power in 1949. Shen Yun says its performances demonstrate “China before communism.”
Mrs. Hufford feared communism had destroyed all of the traditional Chinese culture, saying, “I was afraid that would have been lost forever.” After seeing that Shen Yun was “passionate” about “preserving the culture,” she said she found it “really, really wonderful.”
“It was marvelous, I really enjoyed getting to see more of Chinese culture than I ever learned about in school,” she said, “and to see the passion of what China was like before communism.”
Shen Yun utilizes a cutting-edge patented digital backdrop that allows audiences to see beyond the stage with the performers traveling back and forth between the stage and the background projection.
“The animation and the backdrop was not something I was expecting,” said Mr. Hufford. “I really enjoyed it, especially with how they’re able to incorporate the live actors and actresses popping back out into the show … I think that was amazing and very well done.”
Along with myths and legends from ancient times, Shen Yun presents modern-day story-based dances depicting the persecution of Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, a meditation and spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a persecution against the practice in 1999, and adherents have since been subjected to unprecedented imprisonment, torture, and abuse.
“Some of the stories were heart-rending and brought a tear to my eye for sure … especially the organ harvesting in China … it’s something we need to be aware of, “said Mr. Hufford.
One dance piece depicts the state-orchestrated crime of forced organ harvesting from Falun Dafa prisoners of conscience in China, part of the CCP’s persecution campaign.
“When I saw that particular dance, I was very proud of Shen Yun for taking on that very heavy topic and bringing that to the attention of the Western world,” said Mrs. Hufford.
“I wish that every American could see this and know what’s really going on over there.”
Mrs. Hubbard also said she was “impressed with how bold” Shen Yun was for standing up for spiritual beliefs.
“I was very proud of them for standing up for what they believe in and for taking on modern thought—modernity—and all the toxicity that comes with that,” she said, “I really support them in what they’re doing.”
The Huffords both said they were looking forward to coming back to see Shen Yun the following year.
“Definitely well worth coming to and I’m definitely bringing family back next time,” said Mr. Hufford.
Reporting by Charlie Lu 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.