WASHINGTON, D.C.—College students Avri Leon and Angela Castaneda were especially happy after seeing Shen Yun at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Feb. 18 because it gave them hope for the future.
“I liked the performance ‘Hope for the Future.’ It means there is hope. Regardless how many bad people are trying to bring people down, good will always conquer evil. That was a powerful message for young people and future generations,” said Miss Castaneda.
New York-based Shen Yun seeks to revive the sense of divine inspiration through classical Chinese dance and music, after systematic campaigns like the Cultural Revolution almost destroyed the traditional culture in China.
In the piece “Hope for the Future,” practitioners of the traditional spiritual practice Falun
Dafa are persecuted by the communist regime, a fact that surprised Miss Castaneda.
Founded in 1992, Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual meditation practice that teaches truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. But since 1999, the communist regime has been brutally persecuting the practice. Millions of Falun Dafa practitioners have been arrested, illegally detained, tortured, and even killed for their organs.
However, there is hope as the “story revisits an ancient belief: the idea that we call came from the heavens and that, by becoming good, we can one day find our way back home,” according to the Shen Yun Program book.
Miss Castaneda’s friend and fellow student Miss Leon picked up on the same theme through some of the songs the Shen Yun vocalists performed.
“It’s amazing, the power of their voices and how deep. I also was paying attention to what their songs say about heaven. How we are here and we come from heaven and our purpose is to go back. Be good here and do our best so we would return where we belong: That is heaven. So it’s nice to see that we have hope,” she said.
For Miss Leon, it almost felt she was already on her way to a magical place: “It’s like a combination of being on earth and seeing magic as well,” she said.
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Valentin Schmid
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.