CLAREMONT, Calif.—“The entire program is an uplifting of spirit to something divine, something heavenly.” Dr. Fortunata Mendoza and retired businessman Stuart Mendoza felt spiritually uplifted after attending a sold-out Shen Yun performance in the evening of April 9 at the Bridges Auditorium.
“Oh, I think the spiritual part and the choreography, the dress, the culture, and the story, are just fantastic. It’s a beautiful show. So glad we can come,” Mr. Mendoza added, pointing at his binoculars.
“We want to see the close up of the faces, the expressions and all the details, because when people are dancing, their expressions tell a lot about their mood and what they are doing. I can see that the Shen Yun dancers are all very much into it, that they like what they are doing, and that they are very happy,” he continued.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company that tours to more than 20 countries around the world each year. Its mission is to revive the traditional culture.
Mr. Mendoza was very impressed by the Manchurian ethnic dance, where the female dancers wear the ‘Flower Pot Shoes’ with a square four inch heel in the middle of the sole. “How they can balance! It seems like it could be a little slippery or dangerous, but the way they perform was effortless,” he said.
The Mendozas are enthusiastic about arts and culture. They frequent the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Cerritos Performing Arts Center and have experienced many different shows, operas, plays, etc. Yet Dr. Mendoza regards the experience of watching Shen Yun a very unique one.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “We are so glad that we were able to come and experience this inspiring, historical, and spiritual presentation.”
Shen Yun Dancers ‘Give everything—heart, body and soul’
Another couple who enjoyed the Shen Yun performance at the Bridges Auditorium was Sharon Raden, a private tutor, and Jerry Gazzola, a financial consultant.
Ms. Raden was moved by the classical Chinese dance story called “The Steadfast Heart,” which portrays an elderly couple whose faith in Falun Dafa was put to a test. “The piece is very moving. Especially beautiful was the fact that the old man was broken until his spirituality was able to bring him back,” she said.
Falun Dafa is a meditation discipline rooted in traditional Chinese culture, but has been persecuted in China.
Mr. Gazzola was very glad to see the expressions of Shen Yun dancers. “We like to sit in the front and close to the stage. I can see their eyes and the expressions on their faces. I can see that the male dancers have a lot of energy and a lot of passion.”
“They take everything very seriously and they are very passionate. It looks like they give … everything—heart, body and soul,” he said.
“The female dancers look like they are floating when they go across the stage,” he said.
Ms. Raden enjoyed the music and singing: “The singing was beautiful and the words were very, very renewing.”
Shen Yun seeks to revive the 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
“I love the fact that anytime, anything really bad is happening, the faith comes in and picks them back up and puts them back into moving towards The Way. I think that’s beautiful,” she said.
Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history. Every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated.
“These values are absolutely relevant in every way, shape and form today. This is the Chinese version of virtue and beauty, but we need it everywhere today. Everybody should see this,” Ms. Raden said.
“You really felt in your heart and in your mind when you were watching this. It’s an overall feeling of being spiritually uplifted,” Ms. Raden said.
Reporting by Alex Li, Albert Roman and Sophia Fang
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.