SAN FRANCISCO—One high tech industry executive has experienced Shen Yun four times. Robert Hildebrand, a vice president with Hewlett-Packard, usually sees Shen Yun in San Jose, but said he liked the War Memorial Theatre on Jan. 8.
Mr. Hildebrand said he always finds the classical Chinese dances using sleeves a favorite. In Sleeves of Grace, according to the program, “movements paint a picture of serene delight.” Water sleeves are the long, flowing sleeves female dancers wear, which trail through the air in ethereal patterns.
Each year Shen Yun creates an entirely new performance. “I really like the tie-in to the Chinese history,” said Mr. Hildebrand. Shen Yun’s productions draw their inspiration from China’s 5,000 years of civilization, according to the program.
Mr. Hildebrand found the contemporary history in two dances intriguing. “You know, the fall of the Red Regime … the plight of Falun Gong and the oppression of Falun Gong in China. As a Westerner it is interesting for me to see that,” said Mr. Hildebrand.
The dance he referred to was The Power of Compassion, which is set in modern China, and describes an unexpected kindness, after Communist Party policemen attack Falun Gong meditators.
Mr. Hildebrand said a close friend of his has a connection to Falun Gong, which is a meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It has been persecuted by the communist regime in China since 1999. “So I have a basic understanding of the plight of the Chinese practicing Falun Gong and the impression of that under the communist regime.”
According to the Shen Yun website, Falun Gong practitioners in China have responded to persecution with pacifism, holding banners on Tiananmen square, smuggling letters out of labor camps, and sliding leaflets under doors at night. Shen Yun artists have been inspired by those efforts, and depict them in song and dance dramas.
Mr. Hildebrand said it was “interesting to see that brought out here in the show as one of the themes of the show.”
He welcomed it. “I’m glad to see that message getting out here,” he said.