PHOENIX—Paul Levy, a director in the accounting department of a major personal care products company, drove five-and-a-half hours with his wife, Norma, from El Paso, Texas, to see the evening showing of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theatre April 2, 2016, which was sold out.
Many people are drawn to Shen Yun. In Mr. Levy’s case, this is a literal statement.
He first found out about Shen Yun while searching on Youtube. The images of Shen Yun dancers dressed in heavenly garb struck Mr. Levy, so he began painting them.
During the Saturday evening performance, Mr. Levy and his wife sat in center-aisle seats in the front row, mere feet from the dancers and live orchestra.
“It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Absolutely great,” Mr. Levy said. “Because it is dance, because it is music, it reaches to the soul, to the heart and the soul of everybody out there [who’s] seeing it. It is far more than anything we’ve seen before.”
Mr. Levy noticed how highly expressive were the dancers.
“The dances—one expression says far more than words could ever say,” he said. “The facial expressions of the artists, and the way they move says so much. It brings it all to life.”
Indeed, Shen Yun’s website elaborates on the vast creative potential of classical Chinese dance. It states, “Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power. Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard for human conduct, moral concepts, mental state, one’s value system, and so on.”
Shen Yun is a New York-based, classical Chinese dance and music company that tours to some 100 cities in more that 20 countries across five continents each year. Its mission is to revive the resplendent beauty and rich heritage of traditional Chinese culture.
With approximately 20 vignettes, audiences journey throughout 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, from the legend of the Yellow Emperor descending from Heaven to reign, to heroic tales in ancient times, through to modern times.
Each piece displays different, brilliantly-colored costumes that are a spectacle in themselves. Whether it be Tibetan or Mongolian ethnic attire, or that of the Tang and Qing Dynasties, Shen Yun’s costumes are a feast for the eyes.
“The costumes are gorgeous,” said. Mr. Levy, adding that they help tell the stories.
Traditional Chinese culture is deeply steeped in spiritual traditions. Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have served as the bedrock of China’s belief systems.
Shen Yun’s website explains that since ancient times, China was known as the “Celestial Kingdom,” a land where the divine and mortal coexisted.
Over the past 65 years of communist rule, however, these traditions have been nearly destroyed. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966–1976, in particular, temples and sacred relics in China were physically desecrated and ruined.
Mr. Levy was touched by two vignettes, one called “Monks and the Red Guard,” and another called “The Steadfast Heart,” which depict the persecution of spiritual believers in China who, ultimately, triumph through their peaceful faith.
“The fact is that through their spirituality, they were able to stay focused, keep things going in their lives, and keep things going even beyond life,” Mr. Levy said.
Mr. Levy heartily recommended Shen Yun.
“I would say that it’s something that everybody should get an opportunity to see. Everybody should make the effort to see it because this is a combination of art, spiritualism, and beauty, all wrapped into one.
“It’s absolutely beautiful, one of those most beautiful things you’ll ever see.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Albert Roman
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 reactionssince Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.