Shen Yun Leaves Lasting Impression on Berkeley Audience

December 31, 2021

BERKELEY, Calif.—As a scientist, Timothy Butterfield couldn’t help but notice some of the finer details of the Shen Yun Performing Arts performance.

Shen Yun showcases 5,000 years of Chinese civilization on stage, and it was the stories of present-day China that really struck a chord with Mr. Butterfield. The scenes depicting the harsh treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in China left a deep impression on him.

“I don’t know much about Falun Gong. I just know that they are incredibly persecuted in China,” he said.

He found that although the persecution was depicted briefly, it was a valuable scene. “Hopefully for a lot of people, it brought attention to the persecution that the practitioners are experiencing [in] China today, and for the last 23 years,” he said.

Mr. Butterfield found himself mesmerized by the choreography of the dances as well.

“The choreography is incredible. The thing that comes to my mind the most is the long sleeves,” he said. “The plum blossom, the execution is incredible.”

With his experience playing the clarinet, he was also drawn to the live orchestra of New York-based Shen Yun.

“I love symphonic music. … Not to have a recording but to have them here, live, is very special, because it could just be a recording. It’s very special that they’re live,” Mr. Butterfield said.

I would say it’s beautiful. I would say it’s beautiful to the ears.
— Timothy Butterfield

All in all, the beauty of Shen Yun left a lasting impression on him.

“I would say it’s beautiful. I would say it’s beautiful to the ears. I would say that the colors and the costumes are beautiful. And the dancing, the footwork is beautiful,” he said.

A Privilege to See Shen Yun

Michael and Bev Cleland were also in the audience at this matinee performance.

They were particularly grateful that despite Shen Yun being banned in China, the company is still sharing its art with the rest of the world.

“It made me realize how free we really are,” Mr. Cleland said.

Michael and Bev Cleland at the Shen Yun Performing Arts performance at Zellerbach Hall, on Dec. 30, 2021. (NTD Television)

“It was a storyline of being able to see this from 5,000 years all the way through, and to be able to see it here. It’s sad that they don’t see this in China. This is what really intrigued us, and that’s the beauty of it all. It’s just beautiful,” Ms. Cleland said.

“It is just such a privilege to see this. It’s so beautiful. So much talent, so much heart,” she said.

“I was emotional, how beautiful everything was, seeing [how the performers] just appreciate their own culture and how they interpreted [it] through all the dance and the colors and the music, just everything about it.”

She said she couldn’t wait to bring her granddaughter to see Shen Yun as well.

Mr. Cleland purchased the tickets for his wife as a birthday gift this year.

Reporting by NTD, Michelle Yang, and Maria Han.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.