DAYTON, Ohio—Shen Yun seems to speak differently to everyone. To some it is an overwhelming and magical spectacle, to some it presents a quiet sense of ultimate cooperation, to some it portrays great pride in one’s heritage, and to others, the sense of spirituality present in forgiveness and compassion. These are impressions that were left with audience members who attended the Tuesday, Jan. 27, performance.
It was the first of Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company’s two night-run at Dayton’s Mead Theatre—Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center.
Through traditional Chinese music and dance, New York-based Shen Yun aims to revive a heritage deeply indebted to Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism—a heritage largely lost in China today.
Bill Pohlman, president of Pohlman and Talmage CPA, who attended with his wife Janis, could sense this spirituality in Shen Yun’s performance.
He described the China that he saw depicted on stage as one of great history and great spirituality.
Through the overall beliefs presented, he got a sense of China’s “compassion, of their forgiving, and things of that nature. You got an idea of their spirit,” he said.
“I think most people who respect others and feel compassion for any other human being would all kind of relate to that,” he said.
Shen Yun relies on classical Chinese dance to enliven the myths and legends of ancient China—that is, the dance is used to tell stories. These stories really spoke to Tony Molisse, an engineer and engineering consultant to the Department of Defense at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, who attended with his wife, Wilma.
He felt that story-telling through dance was something that couldn’t be seen in America, and he sensed that the performance “makes people feel closer together.” It was as though Mr. Molisse could sense the extreme cooperation and coordination necessary to not only tell the stories, but to do so with compelling precision. This level of helpfulness to one another onstage came across for him. It “makes you think that everybody’s friendly and very nice,” he said.
Both he and Mrs. Molisse particularly mentioned the novel digitally-animated backdrops and how well they coordinated with the story.
These same visual elements overwhelmed Ms. Robin Titus, a Chief in the Navy Reserves, who attended with her mother. Ms. Titus called the performance breathtaking and noted the illusions that “looked like magic” to her, left her with a feeling of awe. In fact, it seemed as though she understood the word “production” in a new way, with a sense of her being stamped with the spectacle she’d witnessed and could only sum it up with “It was a wonderful production.”
She felt inspired to tell others to attend.
Along similar lines, Mr. Phil Herman, who owns his own real estate company, enjoyed the magnificence of the artistry, as he called it, but he noted something else: the diversity of China.
Along with classical dance that tells stories from China’s 5,000 years of civilization, Shen Yun also presents folk dances from the country’s more than 50 ethnicities. These dances spoke to Mr. Herman.
He noted with pleasure the various geographic regions represented, “and the different customs and rituals.”
“I saw passion for their individual geographical areas, pride, and tolerance,” he said.
Whatever spoke to each member of the audience, they seemed to agree with Mr. Herman’s thoughts: “I think it is a magnificent show. I mean the dance, the art expression, the athleticism, the creativity. It was amazing.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
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.