Shen Yun Is ‘An Incredible Visual Display of Culture and History’

Feb 12, 2024
Shen Yun Is ‘An Incredible Visual Display of Culture and History’
The family of Jeff and Lisa Gafner attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 11, 2024. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)

MADISON, Wis.—Shen Yun Performing Arts performed at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, on Feb. 11 to a receptive audience.

Jeff and Lisa Gafner said they liked the performances. Mr. Gafner, a senior vice president for BW Papersystems, said of the dances: “I really liked all of it. I think the costumes and the background, how they can look like they’re flying. It’s really beautiful.”

Traditional Chinese culture intrigued Mr. Gafner. “Just learning more about the culture, both olden times and even up into the modern, and telling the story through dance and visual. That’s pretty neat,” he said.

Through classical Chinese dance and music, Shen Yun is sharing with the world the beauty of China’s authentic 5,000 years of history. Since its founding in 2006, the company has received worldwide accolades for its mission to revive traditional Chinese culture.

“I think it’s really important. I would hate for the world to lose what’s been built over 5,000 years. I’m really glad that people are putting in the time and effort to make sure that it doesn’t die,” Mr. Gafnor said.

Mr. Gafnor had heard of the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice by the Chinese regime, but also that many people aren’t aware of it. Shen Yun’s story-based dances bring the issue to light.

“I think it’s important to tell the current things that are going on. It’s good for people for awareness,” he said.

Mrs. Gafner agreed. “I think it’s really important that we know about this,” she said.

Mr. Gafnor said Shen Yun is “an incredible visual display of culture and history.”

Mrs. Gafnor added that Shen Yun offers “just beautiful dance and storytelling.”

Armin and Joy Colon attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Overture Center for the Arts, in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 11, 2024. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)
Armin and Joy Colon attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Overture Center for the Arts, in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 11, 2024. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)

‘We Share a Common Bond With Beauty and With Art’

Pastor Armin Colon and his wife Joy enjoyed Shen Yun’s inspirational artistry. “I love the craftsmanship of the dances and the music, and I think that the stories have been very compelling,” Mr. Colon said.
Mrs. Colon said: “I like the detailed artistry. I love seeing the beautiful costumes. The music was very beautiful as well, so it’s very, very inspiring.”

The 3D animated backdrop drew their interest. “I think that the complexity of some of the dances and the storytelling, and how some of the artists engage with the back screen, it feels like you’re jumping in and out,” Mr. Colon said.

The spiritual message that Shen Yun presents touched the pastor. “I think that it’s very well done, and from a theological perspective, I think that it has great values that need to be appreciated, especially when they’re contrasting the persecution. That’s something that we can completely identify with. It’s been very inspiring for us.”

The first dance, which depicts the Creator coming to save humanity, resonated with him. “I think that there’s some similarities. Like the belief of a Creator, and that the world here is [sinning], and how we’re in that journey together,“ he said. ”So, I’ve actually enjoyed seeing those beliefs being displayed. They’re very different, and I was not aware of it. So, it’s been quite enlightening for me.”

Mrs. Colon got a clear message from Shen Yun’s performance. “Well, for one, it’s really to embrace all the history, and to further understand each other better. And so, we can get along better once we understand our backgrounds and where we come from … and what we have in common,” she said.

“I feel that we share a common bond with beauty and with art and that a lot of differences are overcome by that. And I love to be able to get a glimpse into another culture, and how they view the world and life. And it’s just it’s just refreshing and relaxing,” said Mr. Colon.

Mr. Colon was impressed by how the show combined artistry with technical production. “I think that the combination of technology and art, and traditional art, has been very interesting, and also how well-timed everything is, from music to dances. I appreciate that even the introduction to some of the pieces being bilingual, so I think that that has been super interesting,” he said.

“What stood out to me was definitely the level of professionalism and just the beauty of it all. You can see this is very well done. This is something that they put a lot of time and effort into—it was just top class, definitely,” said Mrs. Colon.

Although they were not aware of Falun Gong practitioners having their organs forcibly harvested in China, they found it important to hear. “I was not aware of that before the show, so it was very enlightening. Because when you think about persecution, for your faith, right? It is something that is happening all over the place,” Mrs. Colon said.

“And here in the United States, I think that sometimes you take it for granted that ... everyone can practice their own set of beliefs. But to be made aware of something like that happening, it’s just humbling,” she said.

With shows scheduled in over 200 cities and across five continents, the 2024 touring season is shaping up to be the artists’ busiest yet.
Reporting by Frank Liang and Yvonne Marcotte.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.
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