KANSAS CITY, Mo.—“So there’s four worldwide tour companies, right?” asked Jim Walker after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts. “Wow! Wow! Wow!” was his response to hearing it was true.
In 2006 musicians, composers, dancers and choreographers started a company in New York to revive the classical arts of China and its underlying values and philosophies. These values sustained those arts for thousands of years.
Today, after ten years, Shen Yun has grown to four companies that tour the world simultaneously and travel to about 130 cities across the globe.
Mr. Walker, a recording engineer, thought the performance was fantastic and enlightening.
“The precision of the dancers was just breathtaking,” he said.
Mr. Walker and his wife, Shelly, a wardrobe stylist for T.V. and film, take in a lot of cultural performances. Each year Mr. Walker brings his wife and her mother to see Handel’s “Messiah,” with a symphony, pipe organ, and 250-voice choir. The couple have just seen the ballet “Swan Lake” at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and will be seeing the opera “Carmen” soon.
“But this was spectacular,” Mr. Walker said, laying heavy emphasis on that last word. He marveled at the integration of the visual elements and the precision of the dancers.
They had seen the last performance of Shen Yun in Kansas City this year, at the Kauffman Center on April 3.
Mrs. Walker most admired learning about China’s culture. In relying on classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun is able to tell China’s legends, like that of “The Mystical Udumbara,” a flower that only blooms once every 3,000 years and portends the arrival of a savior; or the “Lady of the Moon,” a story in which a couple are forever separated after the lady drinks a potion granting her immortality.
“I’ve been wanting to come for years. Culturally it was a wonderful experience,” Mrs. Walker said. She had seen ads and billboards in California, which strengthened her desire to come.
The first two dances of the 20 separate performances made her weep. “I thought it was beautiful: the scarves, the dances, the dancers, the curtain rising, and the anticipation of it all,” she said in explanation.
She did feel sad to learn, as the bilingual emcees hosting the performance explained, that Shen Yun cannot perform in China.
For years the communist party has tried to eliminate the cultural traditions of China’s past. Shen Yun’s purpose in presenting the arts and values of China’s traditional culture is to keep them alive.
“I think it needs to be done,” Mrs. Walker said of this mission. “It’s awesome.”
Reporting by Catherine Wen and Sharon Kilarski
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.