ESCONDIDO, Calif.—”It’s very refreshing to come once a year and water the seeds of compassion with performances like this,” said Edwin Rendon, arts editor of Giving Back Magazine.
Mr. Rendon attended one of two sold-out performances of Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company on Feb. 21 at the California Center for the Arts. It was his third year attending, and he thought the timing of the show was perfect.
“It’s quite a delight to have it during Chinese New Year,” he said. “You have all this great culture that is being displayed in front of you, where nature comes alive through all the dances and all the beautiful costumes. The music is superb, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a February evening.”
Shen Yun is a non-profit, classical Chinese music and dance company based in New York. Each year the company creates an all-new production and tours the world on its mission to revive the beauty and richness of traditional Chinese culture through performing arts, according to the company website.
China’s culture is deeply steeped in spiritual traditions. With Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism as it’s foundation, the land has long been known as Shen Zhou, or The Divine Land, where principles such as compassion, loyalty, courage, propriety, and wisdom are imbued in its cultural fabric.
Mr. Rendon believes that attending Shen Yun can benefit anyone and everyone.
“I want to say congratulations to Shen Yun as a whole performing arts troupe, because I know you have now four outfits that are traveling the world doing this,” he said, “I have hope, which is the one great thing we have in life – to hope for something good. I hope that one day, they get to perform in China.”
Mr. Rendon was referring to the fact that despite achieving critical acclaim worldwide, Shen Yun is not allowed in China today, where traditional values have been all but destroyed after decades of rule by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Dancing Was ‘over-the-top exceptional’
Cliff Souligny, a business owner in the construction industry, also attended a Feb. 21 showing of Shen Yun with his wife Tiana, who works in real estate development.
“Excellent performances. Everyone from the orchestra, to the vocals – everybody was fantastic! The dancing was just over-the-top exceptional,” said Mr. Souligny.
A Shen Yun performance includes the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a one-of-a-kind orchestra that combines classical Western and traditional Eastern instruments, vocal soloists who sing in Chinese while maintaining the bel canto technique, as well as a stirring erhu solo.
Mr. Souligny is also a musician; he performs in two bands within northern San Diego, and he said he particularly appreciated the music. “The orchestra was fantastic. They were really, really full, rich – a good sound.” The erhu solo was “just so impressive,” he added.
In addition to the technical aspects of Shen Yun, Mr. and Mrs. Souligny were impressed with the spirituality.
“I love the spiritual aspect,” said Mrs. Souligny. She also welcomed the incorporation of the idea of religious freedom.
“It’s still a huge problem and a huge issue in China. It’s so important that we remember that because everyone should have religious freedom – everyone, no matter where you live.”
She was referring to two pieces, The Power of Compassion, and The Divine Renaissance Begins, which depict the modern day persecution of the meditation discipline, Falun Dafa.
In both pieces, a Chinese policeman, in the midst of terrorizing Chinese people, changes his violent ways after experiencing compassion from the very people he was victimizing.
Mr. Souligny said those pieces bring “hope for the future.”
‘Shen Yun’s in town; we need to come!’
Carol Miller, a former consultant for gifted education for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools overseas, had seen Shen Yun in the past. She and her friends were excited when they heard the show would be in San Diego.
“I have some friends and they said, ‘Oh my gosh, Shen Yun’s in town – we need to come!'”
Ms. Miller was happy that the company creates an all-new production each year. “Historically, I learn something more about China each time,” she said.
She particularly enjoyed the ethnic dancing from Tibet and Mongolia. Although the prominent dance style of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, each performance includes ethnic and folk dances to reflect the richness and diversity within Chinese culture.
“Overall, I thought it was a superb production,” said Ms. Miller. “I’ll come again – over and over again.”
Reporting by Kerry Huang, Jane Yang, NTD Television, and Albert Roman
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006