CLAREMONT, Calif.—”It was out of this world,” said Dr. John Kazalunas, retired and well-respected educator, school board member, psychologist, and Marine Corps Major, after attending Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Bridges Auditorium on April 9, 2016 with his wife Theresa, a retired claims representative with the Social Security Administration.
“There is nothing like it,” said Mrs. Kazalunas. “It is one of a kind. We have seen many, many shows. This surpasses all of them.”
Shen Yun is the world’s premiere classical Chinese music and dance company. Founded in New York in 2006, the company strives to rekindle 5,000 years of Chinese cultural traditions, which are said to be a gift from the heavens. However, through recent decades of communist rule, these traditions have been nearly lost.
Dr. Kazalunas said the educational value of Shen Yun was unexpectedly good. He has more than 40 years of experience teaching—from pre-school children to graduate students. Dr. Kazalunas was first elected to the Rialto Unified School District school board in 1979, and in 2011 the board voted to rename their District Education Center after him to the Dr. John R. Kazalunas Education Center.
The doctor is also a decorated war veteran who served 21 years in the United States Marine Corp. and has been honored as one of “10 Who Made A Difference” in San Bernardino County, a “Person of Achievement,” from League of Women Voters, and “Veteran of the Year,” by American Legion Post 422.
Dr. Kazalunas said he enjoyed Shen Yun very much and thought all the different parts of the performance blended together very well, giving him an unforgettable experience.
“You could feel the energy from the show coming into you,” he said. “It was great!”
A Shen Yun performance focuses on classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form so richly expressive that it can be described as a language of the body, according to the Shen Yun website. The dances weave “a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales.” This combines with “a unique orchestra blending East and West and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”
Mr. and Mrs. Kazalunas said the dancers were excellent. The couple also enjoyed the lyrics of Shen Yun’s impassioned soloist singers, which were projected onto the backdrop in both Chinese and English.
The singers sang in Chinese about hope, faith, and inspiration, resounding with the belief that all people are here on this earth for a reason, and we all seek to return to the heavens from which we came.
“That just touches your heart because all those words are true,” Mrs. Kazalunas said.
The entire experience gave Mrs. Kazalunas the feeling of being “in another world.” She said everything around her seemed to disappear, and she didn’t quite know how to explain it. She said she probably wouldn’t have another experience like it for a long time, or until Shen Yun returned next year.
Mrs. Kazalunas also said she felt a message from Shen Yun encouraging people to be good and treat others kindly.
The couple’s only regret is that they did not bring their granddaughter along to see the performance. However, they said they would definitely be back with her next year.
Some of her friends also wished they could see Shen Yun, Mrs. Kazalunas said, but this year they were unable to, and they were waiting for her to come back and tell them about it. She planned to share her program book with them.
“We need things like this more often, and I wish everybody could see it,” said. “It was wonderful.”
Reporting by Michael Ye and Sarah Le
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.