Theatergoer Says Shen Yun Is a Profound Spiritual Experience

January 24, 2016

LAS VEGAS—Michelle Hoffman, who used to work in the federal courthouse, had a memorable and profoundly spiritual experience at a Shen Yun Performing Arts show at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 23.

“I teared up,” Ms. Hoffman said.

Shen Yun, a classical Chinese dance company, is on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.

Traditional Chinese culture is deeply spiritual. Much of ancient Chinese culture was deeply imbued with Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Ancient Chinese people believed their culture was divinely inspired. Yet after the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the spiritual aspect of Chinese culture was no longer celebrated in modern China.

In 2006, a group of distinguished classical Chinese artists founded Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York to revive traditional Chinese culture through the arts.

Ms. Hoffman said she particularly liked the meaning of “Shen Yun,” which translates to “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”

“It is totally appropriate,” she said. “Divine beauty expressing itself through the art that they’re producing.”

Each dance is accompanied by an interactive digital backdrop and an orchestra that consists of a unique blend of Eastern and Western instruments.

In addition to dance, Shen Yun also has solo vocalists who sing Chinese lyrics with the bel canto technique.

“It was a real treat having the baritone singer come out,” said Ms. Hoffman, who was touched by the spiritual Chinese lyrics.

“I think that everyone will eventually, after maybe countless lifetimes, return to the source, to the divine,” Ms. Hoffman said. “Tolerance, compassion, and truth … that’s what people need to follow, and it is the way.”

Shen Yun is also raising awareness to the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses in modern China.

Two of its story-based dances are set in modern China, where adherents of Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation practice based on the ancient principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, are imprisoned and killed for their belief.

David Rodriguez, who attended the show with Ms. Hoffman, said he was astonished to learn there is no religious freedom in China.

“It’s surprising,” Mr. Rodriguez said.

“It elicited strong emotions from me,” Ms. Hoffman said. “It’s hard to believe that that is happening still, today, right now.”

Reporting by Steve Xu and Amelia Pang