VENICE, Fla.—What if we lived in a society whose technology, media, and arts were inspired by the divine? That may be one of the questions Shen Yun Performing Arts inspires in audiences after seeing a performance with the mission to revive traditional, divinely-inspired Chinese culture and share it with the world.
And on March 14, 2020, in Venice, Florida, business owner Jason Thompson provided a type of answer, at least from his perspective, after watching a performance by the New York-based classical Chinese dance company.
Before he addressed the divinely-inspired aspects of the performance, he talked about how much he appreciated its artistic elements.
A Performance of Beauty
“The [Shen Yun] show was great,” he said. “It was very colorful, very enthusiastic. The dancers were—perfect timing. The music was beautiful. What I like most about it is that you could, even though there were no words, you could use your imagination, it forces you to use your imagination and tell a story and it was a beautiful story.”
Thompson attended Shen Yun with his wife at the Venice Performing Arts Center, and was hard-pressed to pick one part that stood out more than the others, listing several of the dance pieces and their notable characteristics.
“I just appreciated everybody’s creativity and their ability to tell us stories without words,” he said. “The music was wonderful. It was very beautiful. And even the singing was very moving, very emotional.”
Shen Yun includes roughly 20 vignettes in each one of its performances, from storytelling dances to bel canto vocal performers, and even instrumental soloists. The erhu is an ancient instrument of relatively simple design but has a vast range of sounds and qualities as well as an ability to express the rich emotional tapestry of Chinese heritage.
“Two strings—you never thought two strings can make you feel so, could move you so much,” Thompson said. “That was beautiful.”
Tradition and Divinity
Two pieces among the nearly two dozen in the performance depict an ancient legend about the Creator coming to earth with heavenly souls to establish civilization. The finale of the evening portrays what ancient ones foretold, that He will one day return for all mankind.
Thompson appreciated this legend wholeheartedly and elaborated on what he saw as a positive direction our society could move toward, toward a divinely-inspired culture.
The final storytelling dance “helps you feel, appreciate how the humans and a divine culture can truly be one And I think it’s important to rely upon your Creator rather than rely upon man to fix problems on the Earth,” Thompson said.
“I think the tradition of man is something that is, should be supplanted with the Creator’s thinking. I think men’s thinking will ruin the Earth and I think the Creator’s thinking is what man needs to adopt because that’s the only way that man is going to be successful. Man cannot rule himself to his success, only to his injury, I think we have proven that now. So I think if we rely on our Creator, that is the most important thing and should be, that’s what going to save mankind,” he added.
Some of the lyrics sung by the vocal performers distinguish between faith and atheism, warning people against the darkness where atheism leads. Thompson was glad to see this.
“Evolution, you look around you and the earth is filled with so many beautiful and wonderful things, it is hard to accept that this all happened by accident. It had to come from an intelligent being and an intelligent Creator,” he said.
Thompson left on a positive note about his presence there that afternoon despite a global pandemic. He said that his wife and he didn’t think it would be right to stay away from “culture and to keep us from enjoying the beautiful things that the world has to offer.” They were happy to take precautions to stay safe as they went to and from the performance, which they were glad they attended.
With reporting by Mary Mann and Brett Featherstone.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.