SAN JOSE, Calif.—”It’s a wonderful show. It shows all the fantastic dances and culture and music in [ancient] China. We didn’t know so much about it,” said Pramod Sharma, an engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mr. Sharma and his wife, Tish Sharma, a registered nurse, were delighted to experience the Jan. 1 opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ World Company at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
Shen Yun Performing Arts brings to life the myths, legends, and dynasties of ancient Chinese culture—a culture with a rich and mystical history often referred to as “divinely inspired.” The segments are filled with pageantry, stories that touch the human heart, and often a bit of humor.
“It’s very elegant,” said Mrs. Sharma. “The moves are so elegant.”
“I did not know that there was a Chinese classical dance,” she said, “which has such great and rich heritage, that can depict the [ancient] culture and the heritage of such a rich culture.”
Before Shen Yun, classical Chinese dance was not well known in the United States. The Shen Yun website states, “Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does. 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.”
These dances give dramatic portrayal to cherished stories of past and present. Their figures embody the most exalted virtues of Chinese civilization and convey a message of morality that is still relevant in our day.
Shen Yun also relates stories of present-day heroes in China. This culture was almost completely lost due to the Chinese Communist Party’s policies to destroy ancient traditions in the arts and spirituality throughout the country. Shen Yun also tells stories of the courage of Chinese people today who peacefully defend their right to freedom of speech and their right to practice their spiritual beliefs.
Mrs. Sharma marveled at the ability of the dancers to express this courage.
“It’s kind of elegantly weaved into the current-day China also,” she said. “That’s a segue to understanding [for] people who don’t live in China. Understanding what is going on right now there.”
Mrs. Sharma was impressed by how the Shen Yun dancers used their story-based dance to portray these modern tales.
“How art and culture can present a point of view without resorting to violence. To do it nonviolently,” Mrs. Sharma said, “to be able to present their point of view with the help of art and performance and the dance and the music. … It was well done.”
A spiritual chord was struck for Mrs. Sharma by the vignette “The Lady of the Moon.” This is one of the classical legends about a husband and wife and a wicked dragon, which depicts the origins of the moon goddess Chang’E. A tale of bravery, love, loss, and transformation.
“That is a spiritual [tale],” she said. “That is kind of attaining that higher self. There is that hope, and we are trying to find the meaning in life.”
“I think the take-home message from this show would be that there is a way of depicting your point of view through the dance, thorough the cultural heritage,” Mrs. Sharma said. “What you know—we are all part of the culture that has been going on for thousands of years. You carry that with you through your genes, through what you learn.”
Reporting by Gary Wang and Cheryl Casati
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.