PHILADELPHIA—Kimberly O’Keefe is a creator. In the business she owns, pottery and paintings come to life, but she’s all too aware that in her hands also lie the keys to creating the future. Her visit to Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Merriam Theater inspired her to think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. And this young entrepreneur took home a powerfully positive message about how to create a bright future.
“I actually felt inspired, I did. I didn’t know it was going to get into more of the cultural aspect of it … And I really enjoyed the depth of it and the integrity of the lessons that they were teaching within the show. It really hit home,” said O’Keefe, who attended Shen Yun in Philadelphia on Feb. 27, 2020.
“We enjoyed it very much. We loved it, every bit of it,” she added.
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Its artists travel the world with a stage production that is spearheading the revival of traditional Chinese culture from the brink of extinction.
Shen Yun takes as its mediums the rich performing arts that were developed throughout China’s 5,000 years of history, its essence mirrors China’s own core set of beliefs, which are deeply spiritual, divinely-inspired, and laden with profoundly moral practices.
When O’Keefe saw storytelling dances in Shen Yun that depict followers of Falun Dafa in China, an ancient spiritual discipline that espouses truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, and saw the persecution they face at the hands of the country’s communist regime, she gleaned a touching message.
“Just, be kind, be kind to people. And if people want to practice their religion, if they want to do whatever feels right to them, let them do that, that’s okay. You don’t need to interfere with them,” she said.
Since 1999, a brutal campaign against the followers of Falun Dafa has been carried out to a frightening degree across China in an attempt to bend these believers to the will of the communist regime, which is officially atheist.
O’Keefe said she resonated with these followers and recognized something universally human about their plight as it was portrayed on stage by Shen Yun.
“I absolutely did, and it doesn’t cost a dime to be a nice person. So, you know, treat others with respect and kindness and compassion, and just enjoy your life while we are here on earth, and stop worrying about everybody else. And I really did get that from the show,” she said.
Many audience members feel these pieces fill them with hope, since their characters exhibit the compassion, perseverance, and faith that Falun Dafa practitioners do in real life in the face of torture and mistreatment.
Shen Yun’s mission is to bring back China’s ancient culture, which was filled with legends, intricate art, miracles, and divine beings.
“I think it’s very important,” O’Keefe said in response to Shen Yun’s mission, “because if we don’t understand where we’ve been, how can we understand where we are and where we need to be?”
“So, I think learning the cultures and understanding why people do what they do, and the culture and the religion and what not from all of our histories, no matter where we come from, is paramount to understanding where we are now and where we need to go.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Brett Featherstone.
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.