JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Violeta and Matteo Cucchiara, celebrities in the entertainment industry, were ecstatic after watching Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Thrasher-Horne Center at St John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida.
Matteo is the executive film producer for Cinema Island Productions. He writes screenplays and novels.
“It just lift us up,” he said after the performance. “We sort of float[ed] out of the [theatre].
“You forget about all your problems and just enjoy [the performance.] You know that there are other problems much bigger than yours and they’re being taken care of and everything is going to work out in the end. And then, you know, it’s a beautiful story,” he added of New York-based Shen Yun.
Shen Yun brings the audience a panoramic view of 5,000 years of Chinese traditional culture, portrayed through the medium of classical dance, folk dance, and a live orchestra.
The costumes were incredible, Matteo said. “The person who designed everything, the people behind the scenes have to be brought forward … because the beauty is just amazing.”
Shen Yun’s dance costumes and colors are a true replication of traditional aesthetics and styles. It is said that Chinese clothing is inspired by the attire worn in heavenly realms.
Violeta Cucchiara, an actress and singer who writes the music for all her original songs, was overcome with emotion during the performance.
“I love it … everything. I can feel the spirits of all dancers and [the messages the dances are portraying].
“Actually, I was in China many years ago … but I have never seen anything so beautiful like this,” she said. She also complimented the vocalist who sang “To Heaven in this Lifetime.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s authentic culture, which has been severely repressed under the rule of the Chinese communist regime. Shen Yun’s performances in 2022 present “China Before Communism” on stages around the country.
Currently, the Chinese communist regime is persecuting many religious and spiritual groups, as well as China’s free thinkers. Matteo said he was aware of what was happening.
“I also remember China from when I was young and … how different it was. It would be nice if they could go back to those traditions and the culture [brought] back. And the persecution [of the spiritual group Falun Gong] stopped,” he said.
“That’s very important and I think one of the things [Shen Yun] brings out is the real spirit of China. We don’t want to think about what’s going on in there and all of the bad publicity that China’s been getting. The people are wonderful and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
He appreciated seeing China’s true culture because he said many people do not get that opportunity.
“[We picture China as soldiers marching, the politicians yelling and persecution. But really, [in Shen Yun, we see] the real people of China … the culture and how beautiful it really is,” Matteo said.
He said that he and his wife enjoyed Shen Yun so much that they will be returning every time it performs.
Watching Shen Yun and its performers “makes me feel so good,” Violeta said.
Shen Yun a ‘Gift from God’
Lester Huffington and his wife, Jennifer, also had nothing but praise for Shen Yun‘s performers.
Jennifer, a teacher, said that the facial expression of the performers, who were showing such grace and joy, was unbelievable—their dancing appeared effortless and was incredibly beautiful.
“The music is gorgeous, the whole thing. The costumes that go with the set, and the music … I mean, it’s perfection,” she said.
Lester, who is a builder, concurred.
“It’s amazing to me how talented they are. Just the effortless athleticism [of the] performers. It’s a gift from God and a lot of hard work.”
A common thread that runs through each performance in Shen Yun is the spirituality of the universe, and the compassionate and just oversight of the Creator. Lester was aware of a divine message.
“I love the words of the tenor … when he sang the song [‘To Heaven in this Lifetime’], and we could see the words.”
The lyrics, viewable on Shen Yun’s patented animated backdrop, told of a journey through the planes of heaven down to earth where one awaits the Creator.
“I believe that regardless—we believe in Jesus Christ and that’s where we have our salvation—but we do believe that there is one Creator and one God, and Jesus Christ just came from God. But I can see the belief in a Creator is really what life is about and we have an opportunity to live our life here on this earth and present ourselves in the eyes of God. I just think it’s a great blessing,” he said.
Included in Shen Yun’s dance repertoire are stories telling of the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice based on the virtues of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, but that, despite its widespread popularity, is banned by communist officials.
Jennifer said, “Well, I think that what’s happening right now in China is criminal. And it’s … tragic to watch what has happened—the trampling of the culture and the belief system and that pure spirituality that [existed]. I believe that [Shen Yen] does get the message out beautifully with art, but also in a powerful way that helps you to see what is going on is truly evil.”
Lester believed that the essence of Shen Yun’s message has a special power.
“It has to touch your soul. And anything that is a shared humanity is healing because you see others suffering and you understand the bonds that we … have [put] us all on the same level—that is to understand that suffering is part of living,” he said.
Reporting by Teng Dongyu and Diane Cordemans.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.