NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—After much anticipation and longing to see Shen Yun Performing Arts, Leslie Victoria Elliott, a senior model for ads on television and in print, finally watched the afternoon performance at Valley Performing Arts Center on April 20.
“It was beyond words. Actually it was more than what I had expected. I’m so emotional and so overwhelmed that I’m not sure how [to] articulate [it], but [it’s] just phenomenal,” said Ms. Elliott, after watching the performance.
Since ancient times, China has been known as the “Celestial Kingdom,” a unique land where the divine and mortals coexisted. It was believed that the arts were passed down to humankind from the divine.
China’s 5,000 years of culture has been nearly decimated, however, after more than sixty years of communist rule, during which numerous campaigns, most notably, the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) required the population to repudiate traditional values, symbols, statues and temples.
In 2006, New York-based Shen Yun was formed to revive the beauty and depth of traditional Chinese culture and values through story-based dance and music.
In addition to dance, Shen Yun also features soloists who use the bel canto technique to sing in Chinese, and the lyrics are translated into English and projected onto a massive, digital backdrop.
Ms. Elliott was deeply moved by the spiritual messages articulated in the lyrics, which reminding people that there is more to life than the material world.
With tears welling up in her eyes, she said, “The lyrics [are] about heaven and how important faith is. It was just incredible.”
She was also touched by two particular vignettes entitled “The Steadfast Heart,” and “Hope for the Future,” which depict Falun Dafa practitioners who have been persecuted in China for their beliefs. In both pieces, the victims survive the mistreatment and continue to live out their values.
“It seems their faith [is] so strong … The message was very well received, I’m sure, by everyone,” said Ms. Elliott.
Falun Dafa is a meditation discipline that espouses the virtues truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Since 1999, the Chinese communist regime has persecuted Falun Dafa practitioners, who have been arrested, illegally detained, tortured, and even killed for their organs.
Ms. Elliott was also impressed with the various aspects of the performance. “The storyline was incredible. I think the singing was the best I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It’s the best lyrics, and she sang so emotionally. I’m thrilled. She got an ovation, an encore,” she said of the soprano. “The dancers, once again, they float through the air, they’re effortless, they’re weightless, they’re beautiful.”
A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.
Ms. Elliott described Shen Yun as more breathtaking, beautiful, and more amazing than she had expected. “It’s very difficult to put into words actually,” she said. “I want to see it every year. I didn’t know it was different every year, but I’ll definitely be back.”
Ms. Elliott encouraged those who have not seen Shen Yun: “Come see it! It was wonderful. It’s wonderful beyond what you expect.”
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.