Shen Yun Touches the Heart, Theatergoers Say

Mayor Rick Kriseman welcomes Shen Yun as a 'vibrant, international phenomenon'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—In anticipation of Shen Yun’s arrival for three engagements at the Mahaffey Theater, Mayor Rick Kriseman sent a letter of welcome: “Through inspiring dance and music, Shen Yun celebrates a divine and ancient culture thousands of years old, and shares it with a global audience.”

Shen Yun celebrates a divine and ancient culture.
— St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
“Shen Yun cannot be seen in China, where cultural traditions are slowly fading away. That is why it is a particular honor for St. Petersburg to host this vibrant, international phenomenon,” the mayor wrote.

The ancient culture valued benevolence, justice, propriety, and wisdom. It revered the divine and espoused the principle of divine retribution. These values and beliefs are fundamental to Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, China’s chief religions.

“Under the last 60 years of communist rule, this ancient culture has been almost completely destroyed,” the program book states. “That is why you cannot see a performance like Shen Yun in China today.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman sent a letter welcoming Shen Yun to the Sunshine City. (Courtesy of Mayor Kriseman's office)
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman sent a letter welcoming Shen Yun to the Sunshine City. (Courtesy of Mayor Kriseman’s office)

The True Chinese Culture

Dr. Carlos Palacio, M.D., said Shen Yun
Dr. Carlos Palacio, M.D., said Shen Yun “gives you a clear idea of the true culture of China.” Dr. Carlos Palacio and Diana Palacio saw Shen Yun at the Mahaffey Theater on April 4. (Edie Bassen/Epoch Times)

Carlos and Diana Palacio were among the audience for the April 4 evening performance. Dr. Palacio, a resident physician at the USF College of Medicine, said the performance “gives you a clear idea of the true culture of China.”

Speaking of the dance The Power of Compassion, Dr. Palacio said, “I think that piece really shows what truly hurts the people of China.” It shows “the contrast with the communist culture and … the spirit of the people, so I found that really special.”

“I love the compassion because it shows another perspective about China nowadays,” Mrs. Palacio said. “I really love it. It touched my heart.”

‘Awe-Inspiring’

Jeff and Barb Mumford attended the April 4 performance at the Mahaffey Theater. Mrs. Mumford said of Shen Yun,
Jeff and Barb Mumford attended the April 4 performance at the Mahaffey Theater. Mrs. Mumford said of Shen Yun, “I would like to recommend this to anybody.” (Edie Bassen/Epoch Times)

The compassion evoked by the performance moved Barb Mumford too. She and her husband, Jeff Mumford, who own and operate an ATM business, also attended the April 4 performance at the Mahaffey Theater.

“My overall feeling was awe-inspiring, and I felt very deeply the compassion. The piece that focused on it was beautiful to me,” Mrs. Mumford said of the story-based dance The Power of Compassion.

It moves your spirit.
— Barb Mumford
“It was very emotional. I think there’s joy. I think there’s awe,” she said.

“It moves your spirit.”

Mr. Mumford said that his wife cried a few times. He said he felt the performance was wonderful and very spiritual, and the humorous pieces made him laugh.

Light-Hearted Stories

Each year Shen Yun presents an all-new program. Its story-based dances elicit a range of emotions. The light-hearted stories feature mischievous monks and episodes from the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West” that include the humorous Pigsy character.

“It was magnificent! The costumes are beautiful. The dancing is amazing,” Mrs. Mumford said. “I really enjoyed the classical—getting to know about the history in the classical dance of China. The whole package was beautiful—all the different stories, the styles.”

Mrs. Mumford said she was glad that Shen Yun is taking its performance around the world. “I would like to recommend this to anybody,” she said.

Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company completed the last of its three engagements at the Mahaffey Theater on April 4. The company will complete its Florida tour this month with performances in Miami and West Palm Beach.

Reporting by Edie Bassen and Louise Rothman

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006

St. Petersburg, United States
Shen Yun World Company