THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—Hollywood screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos was captivated by both the visual spectacle and universal appeal of the stories depicted on stage by the dancers of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“I think it’s gorgeous,” Spiliotopoulos said.
“Unbelievable costumes and very smart visual effects. I think the artistry and the harmony of the dancers and performers is just wonderful. It’s a beautiful show.”
The screenwriter watched the performance at The Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks, California, on April 2.
New York-based Shen Yun is currently touring the world bringing 5,000-years of traditional Chinese culture to audiences across more than 130 cities in four continents. Its program includes classical Chinese dance vignettes, musical soloists, and stories from China’s vast civilization told through dance.
Spiliotopoulos is a screenwriter best known for writing the films “Hercules” (2014), “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), and “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” (2009). He also co-wrote the screenplay of 2016 film “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.”
The screenwriter found the spiritual message flowing through the stories depicted by Shen Yun inspirational.
“I think shows like this are always inspirational regardless of faith because it speaks to what’s in all of us, and the desire of all of us to hopefully have a divine in our lives,” Spiliotopoulos said.
Belief in the divine underpinned traditional Chinese culture, with teachings from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism passed down for millennia and shaping how Chinese people lived their lives and saw the world around them.
The stories transmitted through Chinese history also speak to the values and ideas stemming from such beliefs. Such themes include good triumphing over evil; living in harmony with each other, the Earth, and Heaven; and divine retribution.
Shen Yun tells these stories through classical Chinese dance, with the help of a 3-D animated backdrop that transports audiences to far away places and times.
“They’re universal stories, so I think regardless of culture they’re very appealing,” Spiliotopoulos said.
The universal appeal, the screenwriter said, came from the positive values conveyed by the stories.
“It’s very positive thoughts, it’s all about compassion and looking out for each other and also seeing if there’s life beyond this one, so maybe those elements are inspirational,” he said.
“It’s just the beauty of it, primarily. Universal stories are for audiences worldwide, and I think any audience of any culture would really enjoy it.”
Overall, the screenwriter was able to sum the performance up in just one word.
“Beauty is absolutely the word I would use for all of it.”
With reporting by Thanh Le.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.