Former Museum Chair Inspired by Faith and Freedom in Shen Yun

Feb 10, 2024
Former Museum Chair Inspired by Faith and Freedom in Shen Yun
Carrie and Michael Horn enjoyed Shen Yun at the Merrill Auditorium the evening of Feb. 10 , 2024. (Weiyong Zhu/The Epoch Times)

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.

Uplifting. Talented. Talent was unbelievable—everyone was talented—the orchestra, the dancers, just wonderful,” said Mr. Horn, a law firm partner. He and his wife Gerri saw the performance at the Merrill Auditorium on the evening of Feb. 10. “There are a number of different stories and messages which made it more interesting. There was body behind the music and the dancing.”

“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.

As the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, Shen Yun aims to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the arts. In recent years, it has come to bill the performance as “China before communism.”
Mrs. Horn said that through Shen Yun, she was able to witness the breadth and depth of thousands of years of culture in just a short period of time. And it was a China wholly unexpected to many today—but also incredibly familiar in its universal values.

“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.
I think it’s very important,” Mrs. Horn said of Shen Yun’s performance and cultural revival. “I wish that everybody could see that.”

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.

So this is very impressive that this company and this movement, you know ... to see that you folks do this,” Mr. Miritello said.
Not only can Shen Yun not be seen in China, but several artists in the company have fled China under persecution for their faith. They cannot return without escaping the regime’s notice, and some still have family inside China they may never see again.

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.

Reporting by Weiyong Zhu and Yeawen Hung.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.
Related Topics
shen yun