BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—Joe Grimes had shared his enthusiasm, and recommended the world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts to his friends and family members long before he and his wife attended its performance for the first time at the Rabobank Theater on April 27.
Mr. Grimes is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. During a time span of over four decades at the university, he took the leadership role, directing, chairing several committees, and received numerous distinguished professor and outstanding faculty service awards.
Professor Grimes voluntarily contributed his expertise to Softec, a nonprofit trade group that promotes business formation/growth in the technology sector in San Luis Obispo and North Santa Barbara for almost 20 years.
He said, at the intermission, that it was great to finally see the history of dance and traditional Chinese culture that he had known very little about, despite some exposures to Chinese culture he had when working with professors coming from China.
The performance consists of 20 vignettes, transporting audiences on a journey of 5,000-year culture and beliefs, from the Yellow Emperor descending from the heavens to rule the Middle Kingdom, and through different dynasties, all the way to modern-times’ stories of steadfast faith.
Traditional Chinese values is rooted in spirituality, and was deeply influenced by Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The ancient Chinese believed in harmony between heaven, earth, and humankind. This is at the heart of traditional Chinese culture, but this culture has nearly been destroyed under the communist rule.
New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by a group of international, leading artists with a mission to revive and share with the world the divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture through story-based dance and music.
Professor Grimes was inspired by the Shen Yun’s mission, and the courage and steadfast faith of Falun Dafa practitioners portrayed in the performance.
Practitioners of Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation practice that espouses truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, have been arrested, illegally detained, tortured, and even killed for their organs under the Chinese communist regime.
“[It’s] a very excellent learning experience,” Professor Grimes said.
Being a Christian, Professor Grimes found some similarities in the true China’s spiritual culture articulated in the lyrics of baritone Qu Yue’s song “What You Are Here For.” He explained: “The spiritual content is similar to that of most people who believe in this being a temporary thing and a life after that occurring.”
Shen Yun presents the best of Chinese traditions with the world’s foremost classically trained dancers showcasing stories and legends from Chinese history, a unique live orchestra with Eastern and Western instruments, vibrant digital backdrops, colorful costumes, and inspiring musical soloists.
“I’ve enjoyed very much,” Professor Grimes said. “I’m just lifted up … the [dancers] are very uplifting in the way they perform.”
The artistic aspect of Shen Yun’s performance delighted him, but the traditional Chinese culture itself impressed him the most.
Professor Grimes extended his appreciation to the hosts who open the gates of understanding for the audience into each wondrous realm, story, or myth: “It’s wonderful that they’re doing the introductions to everything so that we know not just the name of the song or the dance, or whatever it is, but how it fits in with the current and past culture.”
Reporting by Yaning Liu 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.