PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Jack and Stephanie O’Leary attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Providence Performing Arts Center on May 7. Jack, a civil engineer and project manager, said it was the first time he and his wife saw the performance.
Stephanie, who is currently working on a film script, wanted to remember the stories and legends for her work. She found the faith-oriented pieces “extremely inspiring.” The music and stories were “a reminder that if we choose to live correctly, we can all reunite with God.”
Jack said the presentation was visually dramatic. He especially liked the dancers’ skills. “The dancing is incredible. It’s like there’s no gravity.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun is unique in that, in addition to presenting classical Chinese dance and music, much of the performance draws from China’s rich spiritual heritage of 5,000 years. Up until the communist takeover, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism formed the basis of Chinese life.
Violet Berry, 90 years old, an artist and still teaching art, attended the performance with the O’Learys. From the perspective of an art teacher and as an artist, she appreciated the costumes and scenery. She recalled her visit to China 15 years ago. “It is beautiful to see the backgrounds of the Forbidden City. It’s just magical,” a magic that made her feel like she was floating. She said she would encourage her students to see the show.
Stephanie welcomed the spiritual element of the performance. “I don’t believe that we have enough current entertainment in our culture that also incorporates elements of faith. I find it beautiful. The spirit [of the performance] is uplifting, and it is a reminder that we are spiritual beings, even if we live in a material world.”
Jack concurred with Stephanie’s feelings. “I feel right at home with the spiritual aspects of it. It’s wonderful. And I love the music. I’m also actually a fan of Chinese classical music.”
He said he would like to see more.
Regional Dances Amaze
Ron Ragucci, a hotel food and beverages director in hospitality industry, said, “I thought it was phenomenal,” enjoying the culture of the country.
Besides classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun also showcases folk and ethnic dances from different parts of China, each with beautiful costumes and stunning backdrops.
He noted the regional dances: “I think the understanding of dance of each region was unbelievable.”
He also commented on the spiritual nature of the performance, “I didn’t realize how deep [China’s] spiritual culture was.”
Many of the Shen Yun artists practice Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline that teaches the three principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. As explained in the program book, these artists are on a shared spiritual journey and take seriously their self-refinement and morality, which lends to the pureness of their art.
The program’s spirituality that depicted gods and the heavens amazed Mr. Ragucci and was memorable.
Reporting by Weiyong Zhu and Yvonne Marcotte.