GAINESVILLE, Fla.—For thousands of years, classical Chinese dance conveyed rich inner expressions contained deep inside Chinese people’s souls.
Today, Shen Yun Performing Arts is reviving this noble art form and sharing it with the world. Stories of faith, hope, loyalty and compassion appear in the performance, in roughly 20 short dance pieces, all accompanied by a full, live orchestra.
Holly and Tom Nelson attended New York-based Shen Yun in Gainesville, Florida, on Jan. 28, 2020 and admired the dancers’ talent, energy, and athleticism.
“It was amazing,” Holly said. “I had no idea … how good it was going to be.”
“Very talented, very good, very spectacular,” Tom said. “Beautiful color, beautiful scenery. And the effects were really nice with the screen. And the blending of the real with the digital was good.”
Tom Nelson, a pastor, was the one who initially had the idea to attend Shen Yun and he talked his wife into accompanying him. Holly praised the show immensely.
“I love the fact that it was very energetic. And the colors were amazing. And I love that it told a story in every little scene. So, it was great,” Holly said.
Shen Yun uses a unique, patented digital backdrop during their performances that has the effect of expanding the size of the stage to grand proportions and adds new dimensions to the dancers’ capabilities. Audience members regularly gasp and applaud spontaneously when they first see the animated backdrop in action.
The characters and settings depicted on stage at Shen Yun include divine beings and heavenly paradises since the traditional Chinese culture Shen Yun is reviving is inherently spiritual; China’s 5,000 years of civilization is said to have been passed down to humans by the divine.
Holly said she enjoyed the spiritual element of the performance and Tom added a thought on the subject.
“It was great. My husband’s a pastor so it was good to see, see the spiritual element. It was good,” Holly said.
“Well we all worship a God,” Tom said.
“I had never been exposed to any kind of traditional culture,” Holly said. “I loved it. It was good. It was great. It was a great experience.”
A certain dance piece broke Holly’s heart, she said, one that depicts the persecution of innocent spiritual believers in China. A violent campaign against followers of the meditation practice known as Falun Dafa has been carried out by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999. Shen Yun artists themselves practice Falun Dafa, which teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and five energy-strengthening exercises. For this, they are beaten and subjected to forced organ harvesting. In the dance piece”Abetting the Wicked,” one brother has his eyes taken from him while another brother must decide how to respond amidst danger and violence.
“That broke my heart. Nobody deserves to die, nobody deserves to be persecuted,” Holly said.
To her friends, Holly would describe Shen Yun as “spectacular, entertaining, very talented, athletic, colorful … The different stories were touching. It was great.”
With reporting by Yawen Hung 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.