SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Springfield is almost dead center in Illinois, and although it’s the capital and houses the state’s government, it’s surrounded by miles and miles of farmland. It’s not the kind of town you’d think a world-caliber performing arts company that boasts classical Chinese dance would visit. But Shen Yun does.
According to Holly Claunch, who attended the performance with her husband, Mike, on Feb. 24, Shen Yun Performing Arts might seem like it’s just dancing supported by a nice orchestra. People seeing the commercials on television might think that.
But New York-based Shen Yun “makes you think,” the retired teacher said at Sangamon Auditorium after the performance.
With four companies traveling the globe, Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, it’s true. And its orchestra surprises some as it contains both Chinese instruments and a full complement of Western ones, which makes it unique in the world. Award-winning solo vocalists and instrumentalists also dot the performance.
But these surface characteristics belie the deeper meaning and message.
When baritone Qu Yue, singing in Chinese with English projected on the backdrop, sang the lyrics “Why must life be so tiring?” Mrs. Claunch was struck by the serious tone.
This was a question that made her think.
“Why are we put on earth? What’s our purpose?” Mr. Claunch added. These are questions, he said, that everyone thinks about.
The second song of the evening was performed by soprano Haolan Geng: “The Moment of Salvation.” “We all came to earth as a sojourn from Heaven,” she sang.
And this, again, caught Mrs. Claunch’s attention. She had always thought that we go to heaven when we leave this world, but never that we originally came from heaven. It made her think.
Shen Yun aims to bring back the traditional way that the ancients always looked at art and life—as a gift bestowed from heaven. The songs and the story-based dances manifest this idea, according to the company’s website.
Traditional Chinese culture was based on the principles that came from Buddhist, Taoist beliefs and Confucianism.
Shen Yun brings hope and joy to the audience and sometimes an inner peace. The Claunches described the performance in terms of joy and peace.
“The colors are so bright. They all seemed happy and full of energy,” Mrs. Claunch said.
“Very good inside, very joyful,” Mr. Claunch said.
Thus at first glance, seeing happy, energetic dancers in a clip might make people underestimate the performance, Shen Yun is so much more. Mrs. Claunch said people should experience Shen Yun for themselves.
Reporting by Catherine Wen and Sharon Kilarski
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.