NEWARK, N.J.—Watching Shen Yun is an emotional experience—audience members gasp at the gravity-defying somersaults and tumbles, marvel at the grace of dainty movements done in sync, or find themselves spellbound by the stirring sounds of the Shen Yun Orchestra and the soaring vocals of Shen Yun’s sopranos.
Apart from being wowed and moved by the slices of China’s rich culture in about 20 vignettes, virtually everyone leaves the theater having learned something new from something very, very old and spiritual.
“Oh, it’s spectacular and it’s amazing,” said Scott Herman, a vice president in the New York City Board of Education. “I never realized how intricate the dances were going to be, actually.”
Mr. Herman and his wife Addie Deekin brought their five children to watch Shen Yun Performing Arts in the Prudential Hall at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on April 30.
Based in New York, Shen Yun is the world’s premier Chinese classical dance company, and has as its mission the revival of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.
Shen Yun is able to bring to life stories from Chinese history and tales through classical Chinese dance, an intensely comprehensive art form that was refined and handed down for thousands of years through folk traditions, imperial court performances, and ancient theater, according to the Shen Yun program book.
But a performance like Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today—the Chinese Communist Party has destroyed and suppressed China’s authentic, ancient culture and traditions during its over 60 years of rule.
Mr. Herman liked how Shen Yun uses a traditional dance system to tell modern stories of suppression, like Mao Zedong’s Red Guards seeking to wreck a Buddhist temple, or the brutal persecution of Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese self-cultivation practice.
“We can see how unfortunate it is that the communists try to prevent people from maintaining their culture,” he said.
Mr. Herman, the vice principal, and Ms. Deekin also said that they would encourage others to watch Shen Yun.
“I’d love to bring kids to see this next year,” Mr. Herman said.
Frequent theatergoer Pierre Sylvestre also attended the matinee on April 30, and felt that Shen Yun is “obviously something that is unique.”
“And anytime you see something that is unique, it enriches you in a way,” said Mr. Sylvestre, a paralegal.
Apart from the history on display, Mr. Sylvestre felt that Shen Yun’s singers had communicated the spiritual aspects of Chinese culture.
“The lyrics of the songs were very much related to the deep, inherent beliefs, and it definitely came through,” he said.
Mr. Sylvestre said he would recommend Shen Yun to friends and family because “it’s always nice to be able to gain a piece of knowledge about something you didn’t know about, it’s enriching for anyone.”
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.