NEW YORK—Shen Yun Performing Arts is back by popular demand at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, and members of the audience on March 2 said they were deeply moved by the performance of music and classical Chinese dance.
“It’s the dance of the divine. That’s what it is,” said Krishna Sarin, a retired educator.
“It feels like the truth of life,” Mrs. Sarin said.
Shen Yun has a lofty mission. According to the program book, leading artists from around the world came together 10 years ago to form the independent, non-profit performing arts company with a shared mission to “revive authentic Chinese culture.”
China used to be a deeply spiritual society, but much of its traditional culture and many of its values were lost under communist rule. The program book notes that “Traditional Chinese culture is based on the idea of harmony among heaven, earth, and humankind.”
“It touched my heart,” said Mrs. Sarin, noting she was particularly moved by a song sung in the bel canto style by Guimin Guan, one of China’s most celebrated tenors.
The song, Mrs. Sarin said, reminded her of her home in India, and what her father taught her about the purpose of life. In her culture, she said people believe in reincarnation, and in all our lifetimes of wandering, “the ultimate goal is to find the truth. God. You can name it differently.”
Shen Yun shows the divine culture of ancient China, according to the program book, and its songs, dances, and stories pull their inspiration from China’s 5,000 years of civilization—including the underlying values such as compassion, loyalty, kindness, and bravery.
“The truth is very emotional; touching. But that’s the fact of life,” Mrs. Sarin said. “That’s why we are here.”
She said, “My father used to say everybody is rushing. He used to say they want to find ultimate happiness, but ultimate happiness is where? When you meet that Creator.”
Her husband, Ram Sarin, was also at the performance. The retired medical researcher said he’s hearing impaired, “but the things I see visually, it’s just beautiful. I love it.”
Nikolai Paun, a pool technician in Long Island, said he was also moved by the performance. He said, “Everything was based on something peaceful of the human being,” and that he felt it showed a way to discard hate and bad qualities.
“This show is going to bring you happiness. This show is going to show you the future,” he said.
One of the underlying principles of classical Chinese culture is the idea that true art comes from inner beauty and purity. According to the program book, “In ancient China, artists used to cultivate virtue. They often practiced meditation and self-refinement, seeking to create art from a pure and humble mental space.”
Shen Yun carries this tradition. It states the performers of Shen Yun “draw their inspiration from the meditation discipline and self-improvement practice called Falun Dafa.” The practice, also called Falun Gong, is rooted in the spiritual traditions of ancient China, and “its practitioners strive to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.”
Mr. Paun’s son, Emanuel Paun, said he thought the show was “fantastic,” adding, “It was phenomenal. It was the best show I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Emanuel Paun is a college student. He’s currently majoring in liberal arts, but said he’s changing his major to become a veterinarian technician.
As a college student, he said, the show relieved his stress: “I was able to take a little break … and focus on the positive things in life, rather than all this stress—and for some people, depression—of going to college.”
He said, “It’s so helpful, and it’s so relaxing to actually enjoy, and not focus on anything else but that beauty that they brought out in the show.”
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.