COSTA MESA, Calif.—Patricia Truman, an award-winning realtor, found herself consumed with joy and inspiration watching Shen Yun Performing Arts in a filled auditorium at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on April 16.
“I am enjoying it immensely. It’s very heart-opening, soulful, provocative for thought, and very much in alignment with my sentiment for humanity,” Ms. Truman said at intermission, after watching the first part of the performance.
Ms. Truman considers herself “an involved woman.” She wears many hats. She is an award-winning realtor and senior marketing consultant at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties with over 37 years of experience. She received the prestigious “Realtor of the Year Award” from the Laguna Beach Board of Realtors in 2008.
She is an investor, a philanthropist, a writer, a poet, a speaker, an ordained minister, a world traveler mostly, a proud mother of 3, grandmother of 10, and great-grandmother of 19.
Ms. Truman said she was, while watching the performance, thinking the execution and the deeper meaning of each story in each vignette, as the virtues and principles from China’s divinely inspired culture portrayed in each vignette evoked her thought.
“Each story is so well thought out. I can catch exactly what the deeper motive and attributes that are brought to each piece, but I haven’t had time to distill all of it yet. And I have another act to go yet,” said Ms. Truman.
China was known as the “Celestial Kingdom,” a unique land where the divine and mortals coexisted. The ancient Chinese believed that Chinese culture was brought down from the heavens, that the divine, through various dynasties, transmitted a rich and abundant culture to the Chinese people. Chinese culture is thus known to be “divinely inspired.” But this traditional culture has nearly been destroyed under the Chinese Communist regime.
In 2006, a group of leading classical Chinese artists from around the world founded the independent, nonprofit Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York. It aims to revive the traditional Chinese culture, and shares it with the world through story-based dance and music.
Through approximately 20 vignettes, audiences are invited to take a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese civilization that includes myths, legends, and modern stories of courage where “mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Ms. Truman was inspired by the spirituality of traditional Chinese culture conveyed in Shen Yun’s performance: “It’s about [the] spiritual. It’s about reaching for something higher than yourself, trying to evoke the very finest in humanity rather than the base part of humanity.”
She found her belief similar to China’s true, spiritual culture articulated in the lyrics of the song called “What You are Here for” sung by Baritone Qu Yue: “I do believe that we have many incarnations. And that we are here in earth school. And yes today is the day.”
The program states: “Nowhere else can you see the authentic Chinese culture that Shen Yun represents. Sadly, this culture has been almost completely destroyed in China under communist rule.”
Ms. Truman was fascinated by Shen Yun’s creativity and all aspects of the performance. “It’s beautiful. I understand it was all originally created just for this show, and the creativity is just amazing. Every aspect, the dancers, the costumes, the technical attributes to the back and the music. Everything is flawless.”
A Shen Yun performance includes classical, folk, and ethnic dances, accompanied by digital interactive backdrops and a unique live orchestra combining Chinese and Western instruments. Additionally, there are bel canto singers sung in Chinese and instrumentalists interspersed throughout the performance. All of this is enriched by the brilliant colors and textures of the 400 original, handmade costumes.
Ms. Truman said she enjoyed the masculinity of the male dancers, particularly in the Mongolian dance, and femininity of the female dancers.
She referred to a dance vignette called “Drums of the Grasslands,” depicting a group of horsemen who play thin-skinned paddle drums over the lush green grasslands home to the Mongolians. “Powerful and masculine, Mongolian ethnic dance is characterized by its wide, billowing arm movements and nimble footwork, evoking images of flying eagles and wild stallions,” according to the program.
She said she appreciated the English translation of the lyrics projected on the background.
Ms. Truman expressed her admiration of Shen Yun’s artists for their discipline and commitment.
In summarizing her experience with Shen Yun, Ms. Truman said: “It’s utterly delightful and again, thought-provoking. It’s something that I will carry with me in my mind, and think back about. It has a richer meaning, and I haven’t had time to reflect upon it.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Thanh Le
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.