NEW YORK—When Christopher St. Lawrence, the Supervisor of Ramapo in Rockland County, saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on Jan. 16, he felt full of love.
“I love the show. I love the music. I love the dancing,” he gushed. The government official has been repeatedly re-elected as the town supervisor since 2000.
“The history and culture of China have come through many, many millennia,” he said. “It was so wonderful to be able to be taken from the Tang Dynasty all the way up to modern times.”
Through classical Chinese dance and music, New York-based Shen Yun showcases traditional Chinese culture—a colorful tapestry that combines the unique characteristics of over 50 ethnic tribes in China, as well as the numerous different dynasties that ruled the region over its 5,000 years of civilization.
Besides the dance and the live orchestra, Shen Yun also features an animated backdrop that seamlessly coordinates with the dancers, and the vibrant costumes and props. These various elements work together to truly transport audiences through time and space into China’s history.
“I really liked the multimedia aspect of the show, bringing together the music, the instruments, the dance, and the visuals,” Mr. St. Lawrence said. Combined, he said they “gave us a really great and expansive feeling of what China is.”
Mr. St. Lawrence found himself particularly moved by the performance of erhu virtuoso Qi Xiaochun. The erhu “really touched my heartstrings,” he said. As the Shen Yun website states, this traditional Chinese instrument can be incredibly expressive, somber, and soul-stirring despite only having two strings.
“It was very evocative, and I thought that it depicted the long history and culture of China very well,” he said.
Traditionally, the Chinese believed that their culture was divinely bestowed—a gift from the gods. Spirituality permeated their lives, and Chinese artists have always used their work to celebrate and venerate the divine. Shen Yun follows this tradition of showcasing the faith and spirituality of the Chinese people, a theme Mr. St. Lawrence greatly appreciated.
“I love the spirituality of the show as well,” he said. “I love the message.”
Shen Yun was formed with the mission of reviving Chinese culture, as these traditions have been largely destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party in recent decades with violent movements like the Cultural Revolution. Even now, Shen Yun cannot perform in China. But by reviving traditional values and spirituality, Shen Yun is inspiring and uplifting audiences worldwide.
“It is great to see … the enthusiasm of these performers that can give this message of spirituality and freedom. It is wonderful,” he said.
The essence of the show, he said, was “understanding that we’re here for a moment in time, and we have a chance for our salvation here.” Considering the turbulent times we live in, he felt this message of hope and salvation was perfectly on the mark.
He said he would eagerly introduce Shen Yun to his friends. “I am going to tell them they have to come down and see Shen Yun because it is absolutely magnificent.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts will be returning to New York for another string of performances in March.
Reporting by Frank Liang, Weiyong Zhu, and Irene Luo
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.