WASHINGTON—Every time Colonel Winston Haythe sees Shen Yun Performing Arts he is captured by its splendor and grace. But the adjunct law professor enjoys seeing the traditional dance and music performance time and again because it offers more than just aesthetics.
“There is a purpose that’s even bigger than just beauty and marvelous dancing on the stage, even as lovely and as gracious and as elegant and charming as that can be,” said Haythe, who saw the performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House on April 19.
Haythe, who has seen the performance at least three times, said Shen Yun magnificently portrays the spirit of the divine—which is central to genuine traditional Chinese culture and its people.
“The message was the divine is so beautiful, so inspirational, so peaceful, and unfortunately we have forces on earth that are not that way,” he said.
China was once known as Shen Zhou, or divine land, a term that describes a time where mortals and deities co-existed as well as an old belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth, according to the company website.
New York-based Shen Yun’s mission is to bring back China’s 5,000 years of semi-divine culture to the modern world. Traditional concepts such as “respect the heavens to know one’s destiny,” and “man and nature must be in balance” gathered deep meaning over thousands of years of history and are the basis of many of the performance’s story-based dances.
The ancient Chinese were also heavily influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, which they followed to lead moral and upright lives, according to the company.
Haythe’s friend, Erminia Scarcella, who saw Shen Yun with him, said she was able to arrive at a similar understanding about the performance.
“I would say the message is our duty to look for harmony and work for harmony, which is the message from the dance,” said Scarcella, who is a psychiatrist.
“What they are saying is the culture is basically giving the message that we all have to keep, which means we work for harmony,” she added. “This is the way to unite the globe.”
Moreover, Haythe said he particularly liked the overall message the New York-based company was trying to depict in its last piece, “The Final Moment.”
“I like the fact that it was all tied together at the end, how we all come from the divine, and we are destined to return to the divine if we live the right lives here on Earth,” he said.
Apart from the Shen Yun’s message, Haythe applauded the company for delivering a captivating performance.
“I thought that was an extremely dynamic and beautiful and harmonious way to present the whole performance,” he said.
“The theater is the willing suspension of disbelief, and this you were just almost taken to a new level of disbelief, and it was so gracious, and there was such harmony and you felt such peace, it was just magnificent,” he added.
With reporting by Sherry Dong.
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.