VENICE, Fla.—The Bible is the most printed, sold, and read book in the world—but was banned in communist China, where Lynne Hansen visited in the early 1990s for the sole reason of smuggling in Bibles.
So Ms. Hansen was deeply intrigued by Shen Yun Performing Arts and its performance showcasing “China before communism.”
On the evening of March 11, Ms. Hansen attended a performance with her husband, Scott Biehler, at the Venice Performing Arts Center in Venice, Florida.
China was once called the “Land of the Divine” and its people lived with deep reverence for the heavens, Shen Yun explains on its website. But this civilization was uprooted with the takeover by the foreign atheist ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949.
Shen Yun, based in New York, is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company and has a mission to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
“It’s very spiritual, it’s very beautiful, I enjoyed it thoroughly,” Ms. Hansen said.
Mr. Biehler added, “They did a wonderful job. It’s amazing.”
Also in the audience that evening was Jennifer Weil, award winning writer, who saw in Shen Yun a celebration of life.
“Such unified commitment to the spirit of dance, to the spirit of life. It was just profoundly moving,” said Ms. Weil, who leads a creative life as an author, actress, and teacher.
“They go to so many different places, and they touch so many different emotions. I think I loved the ‘Return to Heaven,’ I loved the ‘Mongolian Chopsticks,’ and I loved the snowy mountain Manchurian piece, and the ‘Ladies [Classical] Chinese Dance,” she said, listing a number of dances before turning the program book and deciding that it wasn’t possible to pick a favorite. “They’re all beautiful in their own ways.”
It was beautiful and brave, Ms. Weil added, referencing Shen Yun’s mission to revive the traditional Chinese culture. She added, “May God make that so.”
“I appreciated it was brave, and it was honest to show the persecution that exists still in China. It’s heartbreaking. I wish more people understood the true aims of the CCP,” she said.
“This is certainly what we have now in China: it’s anti-life, it’s anti-beauty.it’s anti-elevation, it’s anti-everything that matters. And I hope that the traditional culture can gradually come back.”
“And it has to start somewhere, so I think it started here,” she said.
“I’m really very moved by it. I think the external beauty of this, the quality of it represents what’s going on inside, and the commitment is stunning to me. The leader is stunning to me. His achievements, his commitment, his courage, everybody’s commitment, because this is a life’s work, isn’t it?” she said.
Friends Tonya Miller and Jennifer Adamovsky certainly felt the cultural revival at the performance.
“The expression of every movement, of every dance, the meaning behind everything that was choreography meant freedom for people in China,” said Ms. Miller, who attended the performance to celebrate her 78th birthday, fulfilling a decade-long wish.
“It really does [showcase universal values]. And for people to come here and get it, [they] get the meaning behind it but also to walk away from this with a sense of more value for the Chinese culture,” she said.
Reporting by Erin Xia and Sally Sun.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.