ST. LOUIS—“You’re almost speechless just looking at all the beautiful movement, the dresses, and everything. It’s awesome,” said Rev. Daniel Preus after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts, a company revitalizing 5,000 years of traditional Chinese civilization—a tradition rooted in the connection between man and god.
“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, “according to the company’s website.
Rev. Preus attended the Feb. 14 performance at the Peabody Opera House with his wife, Linda, and mother, Louise Craig.
“When I found out that this performance was to keep the Chinese culture going, that’s one reason I wanted to come. I fully support it,” said Ms. Craig, a retired elementary school teacher. She added that Shen Yun would help Americans become more aware of different faiths in the world, and felt that was good.
“I think it’s a good thing that outside of China, people are able to express the views that they built tradition on,” said Rev. Preus, of Shen Yun’s mission.
The author of Why I Am a Lutheran, and the third vice-president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Rev. Preus is currently a pastor in St. Louis.
“We’ve been to China,” Rev. Preus said. “I noticed quite obviously reluctance on the part of the Chinese to even talk about religion. It seemed like there was a fear there, so when I brought up my convictions, I was met by silence—not argument—just silence.”
As to the quality of the performance, Ms. Craig enjoyed everything. Mrs. Preus, however, singled out the costumes as stunning, but even more so enjoyed the power and grace of the dancing.
“I was just so impressed by the power of the men. I mean, they just exuded power and the women, grace and beauty. It was just such a wonderful variety of what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman,” Mrs. Preus said.
Rev. Preus also noted the variety—the drums, the excellent vocalists, and erhu, the Chinese two-string violin.
“There was a lot of variety and the level of talent … really fantastic. I mean their dancing was superb,” Rev. Preus said of Shen Yun’s dancers, who specialize in classical Chinese dance and folk dances from China’s more than 50 ethnicities.
Rev. Preus would definitely recommend Shen Yun to others, “If you want to see a stunning performance, beautiful dancing, and beautiful singing, come!”
“And bring your children,” Mrs. Preus added. “I wish I had brought my granddaughters, 5 years and up. They would love it—a lot of little children here tonight.”
Rev. Preus would take away from the performance a feeling of gratitude that the United States has freedom of religion. “I think we should do everything we can to promote that type of freedom elsewhere in the world. I don’t believe that religious convictions can be forced; I believe we need to use words to persuade, not the sword, and my hope would be that that attitude would prevail everywhere.”
Reporting by Cat Rooney 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.
The 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.