MISSISSAUGA, Canada–When Conservative MP David Sweet left the theatre after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts, he felt more enlightened–not only about traditional Chinese culture, but also about himself.
“It was a great way to experience the culture of China and at the same time experience our own feelings and emotions,” he said after attending the April 26 performance at the Living Arts Centre with his wife.
“The experience [is] not just one of entertainment, but one of self-development, knowledge and learning.”
The sentiment isn’t surprising considering wisdom, self-reflection and spiritual development are central tenets of traditional Chinese culture. New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 with a mission to revive this 5,000-year-old semi-divine culture through the medium of classical Chinese music and dance. The company has been travelling the world, performing to many sold-out audiences ever since.
Mr. Sweet is National Caucus Chair for the Conservatives and chaired two parliamentary committees when the Conservatives were in power. He was impressed by Shen Yun’s large-scale production, which includes high-tech digital backdrops, a full orchestra, dozens of dancers, solo singers and world-class musicians.
“It’s huge, it’s extravagant, I was impressed with so many things, it’s endless,” he said, adding that the variety in the performance was the best of any show he had ever seen.
Presented primarily through dance, Shen Yun takes audiences through many aspects of the culture–from legendary figures and ancient Chinese heroes to the country’s diverse ethnic groups. It also presents true stories of modern-day heroes who dare challenge the Chinese communist regime.
“It was educational and it was emotional,” said Mr. Sweet, who has long been a vocal human rights advocate. “There were some [stories] that were very upbeat and some that were very dramatic, dealing with pain and persecution.”
But the underlying message and spirit of the performance was always one of hope and peace, he added.
“The message stitched throughout the entire production in different ways was one of hope, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood, and valuing the important things rather then status and position.”
“It was a really good message of inner peace, of spirituality, and I enjoyed that very much.”
Mr. Sweet is also the vice chair of Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights, the venue where parliament scrutinizes the human rights situations in foreign countries.
Reflecting on the many challenges facing the modern world, Mr. Sweet said Shen Yun is an example that pursuing universal values like compassion and tolerance always provides hope for humanity.
“Being compassionate for our fellow citizens is absolutely necessary for us to have the culture that is peaceful and enjoys law and order, and justice,” he said.
“I’m always very hopeful, and sometimes things look dark, but there’re always new opportunities to be able to solve problems, and [Shen Yun] demonstrates that over and over again.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company is currently touring Eastern Canada. 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 reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.