ATLANTA—Drawing from 5,000 years of history, Shen Yun displays stories told through dance evoking the triumph, tragedy, and unbreakable spirit of a peoples whose culture is said to be divinely-bestowed.
It was these stories that touched Aline Eto, head accountant at a company in Georgia, after watching the performance with a companion, Travis Holmes, pharmaceutical salesman, at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 5.
“The colors, the music, the dance, everything was perfect,” Eto said.
“And you can feel emotion through dance, which I never felt that way, the sadness and the happiness, it’s beautiful. It’s powerful.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based classical Chinese dance company, whose mission is to restore traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. Its six equally-large companies are currently touring the world, bringing the performance to more than 130 cities across four continents.
Eto was struck by the company’s mission, and also surprised by the fact that the performance cannot be seen in China. Given this adversity, she applauded all the artists involved in such a project.
“It made me think all these people coming here in New York from China, dancing and be able to express themselves, through dance and through the culture and through the music—it was beautiful, it was amazing,” she said.
Eto thanked the company for putting on a performance that was more than mere entertainment.
“I’m just amazed that … the company can do this, bring that to us because we would not know that or have feelings, or those emotions, if it wasn’t through them,” she said.
Spirit of the Dancers
Eto was not the only audience member who felt the emotions come through the dancers. Sturgeon, a retired engineer, and Tanya Briggs, a retired IT consultant at the Carter Center, felt it too.
“You can see the love of the dance in the spirit of the dancers as they are performing,” Tanya said, “And just the stories that they tell with the dance, and you see their emotions come through.”
The stories told by Shen Yun’s dancers contain the values and ideas underpinning a culture that has lasted thousands of years, which center around a belief in the divine. Through the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, traditional Chinese culture over the ages has developed a system of thoughts and behaviors that emphasized harmony between Heaven, Earth, and man.
Sturgeon saw these themes shine through the performance.
“There’s a spiritual content, very much historical content, to the feeling of the Chinese people and where they’ve been and that whole culture for 5,000 years,” he said.
Tanya was so amazed by the performance she said she would tell others including her former employer, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, about it: “I’ll tell her how wonderful it was.”
With reporting by Yang Hanmin and NTD Television.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.