ATLANTA—For Mr. Trent Smith, Shen Yun Performing Arts is expressing a cultural heritage and speaking truths that the Communist Party doesn’t want the Chinese people to access.
“I felt very touched. I feel very touched about it,” said Mr. Smith, a 19-year-old high school graduate from Tallahassee, Florida, after the Shen Yun matinee performance at Cobb Energy Center on Jan. 16.
“Although ancient traditions may seem old, it doesn’t mean that you should stop people from practicing it and things of that nature,” he added.
Some of Shen Yun’s story-based dances depict the Communist Party’s attempts to stamp out religion and the persecution of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.
Mr. Smith was particularly moved by a dance where Chinese policemen abuse an elderly man who defended practitioners of Falun Gong.
“I felt very sad about that, and how they still do that to this day,” he said. “I feel like it’s basically people’s belief. You should basically respect people, what they believe.”
Mr. Smith felt that other performances he’s been “are nothing compared to” Shen Yun, and supports the classical Chinese dance company’s efforts in reviving ancient Chinese culture and tradition.
“Definitely, we have to keep it going,” he said.
“We should continue to carry it on for generations and generations to come.”
For thousands of years, the Chinese people embraced virtues like compassion and loyalty, kindness and bravery, states the program. These virtues, inspired from the teachings in Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, were reflected in the traditional art forms of dance, music, and poetry.
After the Chinese Communist Party took over the country in 1949, however, it sought to overturn tradition. During the Party’s Cultural Revolution, for example, Red Guards would smash monasteries and temples, and the Chinese people were encouraged to “fight with heaven, fight with earth, fight with each other,” according to the program book.
Five thousand years of tradition was nearly lost—until a decade ago, when a New York-based classical Chinese dance company made reviving China’s divinely inspired culture its mission.
Reporting by Mary Silver and Larry Ong
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.