JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—For many who attended Shen Yun’s May 11 engagement at Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, the day stood for steadfast faith and inner strength in adversity, and the reaffirmation of goodness.
Steve and Kristen Thomas were among those who were touched by Shen Yun’s depiction of these themes.
Mr. Thomas, owner of a computer company, said, “I think it’s very thought-provoking and raises some very important issues about China today.” The performance brought to his mind that “5,000 years of culture and commitment has been quashed by a relatively new, intolerable regime,” he said.
For decades, the Chinese communist regime has launched campaigns to destroy cultural sites, treasured relics, and traditional beliefs and values, such as faith in the divine.
Beginning in 1999 and continuing today, the regime has persecuted those who practice Falun Dafa, a peaceful meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Mr. Thomas remarked on how effective Shen Yun is in bringing to light this “intolerable situation in China today.” “And the performers are magnificent,” he added.
He was most impressed by the dance The Steadfast Lotus, which “mirrors countless present-day stories of Chinese families torn apart,” the program book says. In the dance, Communist Party police seize a mother for practicing Falun Dafa. The daughter searches for her mother while staying true to her faith and finding new hope. “She stood fast even in the face of persecution,” Mr. Thomas said.
Mrs. Thomas said, “There’s been a lot of oppression, and I hope it can be overcome.”
Based in New York and independent of the Chinese regime, a group of classical Chinese artists founded Shen Yun Performing Arts in 2006 with the mission of reviving the 5,000-year-old traditional Chinese culture.
“I think they are doing a terrific job,” Mr. Thomas said, adding that he hoped Shen Yun would succeed.
“They will succeed,” Mrs. Thomas said. Speaking of the overall performance, she said, “I just think it’s wonderful. They’re so talented, and it’s colorful, and it’s engaging.”
Tim Mylod, who is retired from financial advising and money management, felt positive about Shen Yun’s message—for today and the future. He described the performance as “emotionally powerful.”
Shen Yun’s website states: “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture.”
Mr. Mylod said he was left with feelings of beauty, tranquility, and happiness. He said he had a sense that Shen Yun would have a positive effect on China’s future.
The emcees “talked about how this is all performed around the world, but not in China,” Mr. Mylod said. “That won’t [last] long because this is too powerful—the performance is too powerful. It will regain strength in China someday.”
Mr. Mylod loved the soprano singer and said her voice “came right through the entire room.” He also enjoyed hearing the erhu, the Chinese violin, which is said to be over 4,000 years old and able to convey a range of emotions.
With its May 11 performances in Vienna, Austria, and Jacksonville, Fla., Shen Yun concluded its 2013–2014 world tour.
Reporting by Edie Bassen, NTD Television, and Adam Miller
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.