GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Wilma Huyser, now 80, didn’t know quite how to reconcile the beauty she saw onstage during Shen Yun Performing Arts’s presentation and the China she knew years ago—a year after the Tiananmen Square events. The communist party was firmly in control.
“I see so much beauty in the artistic form, so much beauty in the music; I see a lot of beauty in the background. Some of that beauty I saw in China, but frankly we never saw blue sky,” she said. She and her husband had taught English in Chengdu, Sichuan province, for a year.
She mentioned that one dance depicting a street in China today “was much more beautiful than the back road street scenes in reality. It was much more beautiful,” she said. And that beauty left an emotional impact on her.
In that dance a young couple is persecuted by the communist forces for their spiritual beliefs. It surprised Ms. Huyser to hear that persecution is still so much a part of China today. “I thought that had changed significantly … [but] there still is a lot of control of the Communist Party and of freedoms, religious freedoms,” she said.
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company created in 2006 by a group of acclaimed classical Chinese artists from around the world. The artists created the company with the mission to revive China’s ancient culture.
The company’s productions present values and principles long cherished in China, but which have been nearly destroyed under years of communist rule. These values include a belief in the divine which are interwoven into storylines expressed through classical Chinese dance.
The depiction of spirituality itself surprised Ms. Huyser for although she and her husband met young people in China who were searching for more meaning in life, she never sensed the “rich recognition of the creator” that she saw in the historical presentation by Shen Yun.
The spirituality resonated with Ms. Huyser, who still works as a social worker in refugee resettlement. “I think in today’s world the spiritual recognition of the divine is sort of lacking,” she shared.
But that’s not true of her, she said.
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski
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.
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.