MESA, Ariz.—It takes courage in times like ours to admit your most delicate and sincere feelings. So when Susan Kailor, a novelist, broke into tears of joy while describing her life-long affinity with Chinese culture and the way Shen Yun Performing Arts touched her heart, it was a rare and emotional moment.
“I love [Shen Yun],” Kailor said, “It made me cry with joy, with the beauty of it. I love the music. I love the dance. I love the color. I love the illusion. I was completely captivated, and I will remember it the rest of my life.”
It was Kailor’s first time seeing New York-based Shen Yun at the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center in Arizona on March 12, 2020. Her aunt bought her the ticket, knowing how much she would love it and that her birthday was coming up soon.
“She likes performing arts, too,” Kailor said, about her aunt, “and I love it, so it’s very special to me, and this did not let me down at all.”
Kailor could not pick just one aspect or story in the performance that stood out to her the most. “They were all so great. The music with the dance, with all the illusion. Put that all together and I would just say, I mean, just pulled it off. It just moved me to my soul,” she said.
Shen Yun aims to restore traditional Chinese culture, which was almost lost, by employing highly-expressive and exquisite art forms such as classical Chinese dance. “China’s deep cultural traditions are contained in classical Chinese dance, allowing its movements to be richly expressive, such that the personalities and feelings of characters can be portrayed with unparalleled clarity,” Shen Yun’s website states.
But the heart of Shen Yun’s mission lies in the spirituality that is inextricably tied into China’s heritage. Spiritual practices such as Buddhism, Daoism, and Falun Dafa are woven throughout authentic Chinese culture and therefore feature consistently in Shen Yun‘s roughly 20 vignettes.
Kailor felt that Shen Yun did a wonderful job in its passing on of China’s rich heritage to new, modern audiences. “Even just in a sense educating people to more of the culture. It’s more to me like a feeling behind it,” Kailor explained. “It’s not the politics, it’s not this, it’s not that, it’s there’s a feeling behind it. For me, the whole Chinese culture … the depth of it, the spirituality of it’s just very moving, and I saw it all come out here.”
One of China’s legends tells of the Creator and His eventual return to earth to reward good people. The pieces that depict this utilize Shen Yun’s patented technology that brings its animated digital backdrop to life.
The effect astounded Kailor. “When that tsunami thing came up, that’s probably the first time I’ve realized what it must really look like. It was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ so much worse than I ever imagined. But no, the whole storyline was very, very beautiful, and I’ve always felt a deep connection to China. I don’t know why. I mean, not currently what’s going on there or whatever, but just something of it, just the culture of it. I’ve always been very drawn from a deep perspective in my heart. So to see [Shen Yun], it was—really, really moved me.” The writer cried as she spoke.
“[Shen Yun] is just beautiful. It’s all very beautiful, I just loved it. The illusions, too, of them flying. I mean that had to be done to precision to pull off when the people appear. I mean it looked so real. Really, really enjoyed it,” she said, referring again to the digitally animated backdrop that often leaves audience members agasp.
Finally, Kailor recognized the value of seeing characters who practice an ancient Chinese meditation method called Falun Dafa, which teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as well as five energy-strengthening exercises.
“Oh, I loved that. I mean I meditate a lot myself,” she said. “I don’t see how people can survive without doing that [meditating]. To step back from the chaos of the world and go deeper. Because to me, when you go to your inner core, you touch everything, because you are going deep enough inside, and there is only oneness. So to me, it was, it really resonated.”
With reporting by Yawen Hung and Brett Featherstone.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.