PORTLAND, Maine—Michael and Carrie Horn were blown away by the artistry and aesthetics of Shen Yun Performing Arts, but more than that, they admired the courage and story behind the show.
“It’s just beautiful. And it made me wish the Chinese people all the best,” Mr. Horn said.
Performing around 800 shows per season, New York-based Shen Yun has become a global phenomenon since its inception in 2006. Yet, it cannot be seen in China.
“I’m a very strong patriot for the United States because I believe in liberty and equality and freedom,” explained Mrs. Horn, the former chair of the Morris Museum.
“And I saw that in the shows. I also am a religious person. I’m a believer. I’m a woman of faith. And I felt that the presence of a God figure was very important. Very important. And I didn’t realize that that was so much a part of Chinese history,” she said.For thousands of years, the ancient Chinese believed their culture was divinely inspired and believed in the Creator. It was only in 1949 that the atheist Chinese Communist Party took power and sought to replace traditional culture with its own ideology.
The return to tradition in Shen Yun’s art was similarly inspiring for another patriot in the audience.
Neil Miritello, a business owner, deals regularly with partners in Asia, including Chinese. It has given him the understanding that Chinese people have a very hard time under communist rule.
Mr. Miritello said he was impressed by the bravery of these artists.
“It comes to mind that people still find truth in the real deity, and it’s something higher than the Communist Party that people are. And the Communist Party, of course, wants to do away with all religion, worship—everything beautiful, because they fear it. And that’s why we feel very lucky to be able to see people who are actively putting their life on the line, really, to practice the belief and the truth,” he said.