WATERBURY, Conn.—Waterbury, a town of over 109,000 along the Naugatuck River, is the tenth largest city in the New York metropolitan area. At the Palace Theater, hundreds of those 109,000 residents got to see Shen Yun Performing arts on its opening show on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 7.
For Jerome Howard, president and founder of Howard Financial Corporation, a financial consulting firm in West Hartford, Conn., Saturday’s performance was his third time seeing Shen Yun.
What makes him come back year after year is “the tradition, culture, excitement, color, the technique, and dedication of dancers.”
Formed in 2006, Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance and music to preserve and revive China’s divinely inspired culture—one that has carried on for 5,000 years and only in modern times, under Communist rule, has been threatened.
Mr. Howard, who had visited China before, recognized the universality of Chinese culture in Shen Yun’s performances.
“I think all cultures have similarity to it,” he said of the Chinese culture. “Culture comes down to family. Family comes down to tradition. I’m Irish and English, but [Chinese] tradition goes back further than [mine] does.”
Richard and Erma Rausch traveled in China more than two decades ago as part of an educational trip, and saw the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, and other “wonderful monuments.”
Mr. Rausch is president emeritus of Lincoln College of New England, formerly known as Briarwood College.
Mrs. Rausch, also a former educator, commented that she liked the historical information in the performance and program book, adding that “because we have been there (to China) we realize how restricted it was then and probably more so now.”
Since the communist takeover in 1949, China has experienced systematic and devastating loss to its traditions, which are rooted in the beliefs of Buddhism and Taoism—centered on the idea of harmony between heaven and earth. Art under Communist Party has not been allowed to carry this ideal.
Shen Yun’s performances weave a tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking audiences on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture, according to the Shen Yun website.
Having seen such a display of Chinese culture as it once was, “I appreciate it even more,” said Mr. Rausch.
Reporting by Pamela Tsai and Christine Lin
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.