COSTA MESA, Calif.—Mr. Michael Slack drove long and far to attend Shen Yun Performing Arts with a friend at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on April 13.
Mr. Slack is a vice president of engineering systems at a solar powering company in Burbank. Before that, he was an associate professor of mathematics, and assistant professor of pharmacology and systems biology at several universities, including Stanford and Harvard.
“I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s very heartfelt. I feel the performers really put their energy into the show. I know Falun Dafa. They do a lot of energy practices, so you can actually feel that energy coming through in the dance,” Mr. Slack said after watching the performance.
The Falun Dafa that Mr. Slack was referring to is a spiritual meditation practice that espouses truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. But since 1999, the Chinese communist regime brutally persecutes the practice. Falun Dafa practitioners have been arrested, illegally detained, tortured, and even killed for their organs to this day.
In ancient China, artists used to cultivate virtue. They practiced meditation and self-refinement, seeking to create art from a pure and humble mental space. Shen Yun’s artists try to do the same.
“Today, Shen Yun’s artists-dancers, musicians, choreographers, and composers, and the entire team-follow this noble tradition. For them, this spiritual connection is the motivation for striving to excel, is the heart behind each movement of the dancer and each note of the musician. It is why audiences can feel there is something different about Shen Yun,” according to the Shen Yun website. Mr. Slack was in agreement.
“I feel the energy from it, and also I feel my heart is also somewhat open by the process of participating and watching,” said Mr. Slack. “[It’s] the spiritual energy. That kind of energy is a feeling of bliss. When you’re in the presence of it, it activates, and you feel mostly a feeling of happiness. So that happiness that you feel permeates the whole body.”
Based in New York, the independent, non-profit Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s 5,000-year culture and beliefs that have been nearly destroyed under the Chinese communism, and to share it with the world through story-based dance and music.
At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance. “Known for its incredible flips and spins and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” states the website.
Each dance is accompanied by an interactive digital backdrop and an orchestra that consists of a unique blend of Eastern and Western instruments.
Mr. Slack was impressed by the performers’ beauty and dedication and the unique sound from Shen Yun’s orchestra combining Chinese and Western instruments. But his richest experience was being inspired by Shen Yun’s presentation of traditional Chinese culture, which is deeply spiritual, as it was influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism for thousands of years.
Thoughtfully, he said, “I think from a spiritual perspective today, we’re also seeing ancient practices coming back and being recast in modern terms.”
Mr. Slack said, “It felt good to be able to support an organization that is fighting for spiritual freedom, because I think we need that in the world today. And [it] also brings something that’s coming from the heart.”
Mr. Slack said before departing, “Thanks everyone for what they put into the show, and [I’m] glad to have been here.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Thanh Le
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.