GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A family of six came to the matinee performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company for a very good cultural experience, and Shen Yun delivered.
Marilyn Miklo was very much impressed with the 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture she witnessed on stage, depicted through the universal language of dance and music.
This culture has been recently devastated by the atheistic rule of the Chinese Communist Party. But based in New York, Shen Yun has the freedom to express this culture to its fullest through the performing arts.
“I think it’s a story that needs to be told,” Ms. Miklo said, referring to the repression of these cultural values.
She and her husband brought their daughter, Karen Whitwood, son-in-law, Chris Whitwood, and two grandsons to the matinee performance at DeVos Performance Hall on Dec. 30.
Ms. Miklo was particularly impressed with “the athleticism of the dancers, and the expressions. They really portrayed the characters that they were playing. It’s a wonderful place to bring a family,” she said.
China was once known as the Middle Kingdom, a place between heaven and earth, the land of the divine, according to the company’s website. Thus, traditional Chinese culture and its arts are deeply spiritual.
Each Shen Yun performance includes about 20 presentations of music and dance, some depicting stories from China’s past and some from the present. According to the website, each story or song expresses cherished virtues of traditional Chinese culture, and has a message or moral to teach.
Ms. Miklo’s son-in-law, Mr. Whitwood, a real estate agent, found Shen Yun to be extremely beautiful. “The dancers are doing quite a great job. You can tell they worked very hard to perfect their dances,” he said.
Mr. Whitwood’s roots are Asian, as he noted that his mother is from Okinawa, Japan. “So, I have a lot of Asian culture in my life, not so much of the spirituality part. … It’s good to come to productions like this to get a different perspective and opinions of culture, nature, and everything else.”
Karin Whitwood, a contract administrator, agreed with her husband that Shen Yun is beautiful, with excellent dancers, and lovely music.
“The thing that stood out the most for me was the Falun Dafa dance,” Ms. Whitwood said. She noticed that one of her sons was surprised that people who practice Falun Dafa are persecuted in China and anticipated she’d have to have a conversation with him about it.
The story-dance performance she referred to centers on the traditional spiritual meditation discipline, Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong. The group has been persecuted for their beliefs in truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, in China for the last 16 years.
“The lessons of tolerance and the harmony between the divine and the earth—that’s a lesson for everybody,” said Ms. Whitwood. “That’s something to take home to your family and to your work and to your neighborhood.”
Reporting by Nancy Ma and Cat Rooney
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.