Theatergoer Sees Joy Past the Struggle of Life in Shen Yun

January 24, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C.—In a touching and, for some, potent way, the last performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts’s 20 short pieces, a dance called “Hope for the Future,” demonstrates that despite terrible adversity and even evil, our human desire for good matters. Divine eyes are watching and care about humankind, and that, indeed, we have reason to hope for the future.

The piece left Mark Lichtenberger feeling inspired and hopeful after seeing New York-based Shen Yun with his family at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C.

“Really, in a real genuine and authentic sense—very hopeful,” the project manager for Aon Hewitt said on Jan. 23.

Mr. Lichtenberger’s heartfelt response mirrors the sincerity Shen Yun performers try to cultivate, through their training and in their personal life, by honestly appraising and overcoming their limitations and faults, taking steps toward greater peace.

According to the company’s website, each cultivates a heart devoted to a purpose larger than his or her own self. This pure heart, in turn, mirrors cherished values of the traditional Chinese culture, which the company hopes to bring to life.

It is quite the challenge, and inspired a similar challenge for Mr. Lichtenberger himself.

Throughout the performance, Mr. Lichtenberger saw the opposites of struggling and joy: “The continuity of life’s struggle, working through that, being positive, joyful,” he said. “It’s a great journey!”

He saw this sweet struggle for each person in history, and each performer onstage, telling tales from the civilization’s 5,000 years. And, upon reflection, he saw it from a larger cultural perspective, with the sweep of one dynasty struggling with another over time.

And even in how Shen Yun portrayed the divine—in a grand way, according to Mr. Lichtenberger, the divine was presented “in a challenging way.” He said he felt up to the challenge to keep that grand feeling with him.

“The coordination, the athletic skill, the pure beauty and joy … it was a real celebration of movement and history,” yet he was left feeling challenged.

Ultimately, he would walk away trying to pull together two disparate elements: life’s struggles and joy, he said. This is the challenge Shen Yun offered him, living through struggles joyfully—but not without hope; the hope that there is something greater, and joy at the end of one’s struggles.

Reporting by Xiaoxu Lin 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.