Shen Yun Uplifts Couple ‘to a Higher Plane’

April 27, 2013 7:06 pm Last Updated: November 23, 2014 8:12 pm

NEW YORK—”What singers! What dancers! What glory! What beauty!”

Carolyn English, a former opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera who now teaches voice in high school, had high praise after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on April 27.

“Those singers were unbelievably beautiful,” she said. “I just yelled ‘Bravo! Bravo!'”

Ms. English shared the stage with such legends as Birgit Nilsson and Beverly Sills as part of the chorus for a quarter century.

The sopranos and tenors in Shen Yun, who perform solos accompanied by a pianist, greatly impressed Mrs. English.

“They sing with their hearts,” she said.

‘A Higher Plane’

“Reviving 5000 Years of Civilization” is the banner on the Shen Yun website, and this aspect impressed Ms. English and her husband Jack even more.

“It was absolutely beautiful. I can’t tell you what a surprise it was, how we really feel we’ve been uplifted to a higher plane,” said Mr. English, who served as an officer in the Navy for 11 years before entering the insurance industry.

Chinese culture is inherently spiritual—China was once known as Shen Zhou, or the Divine Land. 

“This profound name describes a land where deities and mortals coexisted, and a belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “For thousands of years, Buddhist, Taoist, and other disciplines were at the heart of society. Calligraphy, music, medicine, attire, and much more were said to have been passed down from the heavens.”

Ms. English said the performance connected with her, through the dance pieces showing that the culture and human beings are passed down from the heavens. “We come here, and now we’re working through our lives. And then we should go back according to how we carry on with our lives,” she said.

“This is the way of the world and why we are here,” she said. 

Shen Yun, a New York-based company, presents classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dance, and story-based dance, along with the vocal soloists. The dancers, adorned with handmade regalia, are accompanied by digital backdrops and an orchestra that melds classical Western instruments with traditional Chinese instruments.

Yet the essence of the performance is much more than what is on the surface. “Digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.” 

A Beautiful and Sophisticated Performance

Mr. and Ms. English expressed joy after seeing Shen Yun.

“We loved everything about it,” said Mr. English. “Everything! It was so beautiful, so sophisticated. Oh, it just touched your heart right here. It made you want to cry.”

The couple had already made plans for next year’s performances.

“I’m so happy to hear that it’s coming back next year,” said Mr. English. “We’ll come. We will be here.”

And Ms. English wanted to share a message to the artists of Shen Yun.

“You’re bringing good to people, and you’re strengthening them in faith. We need that. I can’t thank you enough for giving us something so beautiful, and such hope, such joy. We’ll think of it forever.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.

Shen Yun Performing Arts is performing at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 28.

The 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.