SEATTLE—As Shen Yun Performing Arts makes its way around the globe, its stop at Seattle’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall offers the northwest United States a special glimpse into ancient Chinese culture.
“I loved it,” said Lorraine Scherer, a finance manager. “I thought it was great. It was moving—the story was there.”
Ms. Scherer felt that every single aspect of the Shen Yun was en-pointe. “The costumes were awesome, the color was great, and the animation was superb,” she said after the performance on April 3, “because it was right on target.”
In fact, at first glance, Shen Yun indeed has “sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop,” according to the company’s website. However, each facet of Shen Yun offers deeper and deeper connections to audience members at a bevy of emotional levels.
“I could feel the emotion in the dance, and I could feel the story,” Ms. Scherer added. “So they didn’t even have to tell me the story—I could see it happening. To me that is pure, raw emotion.”
However, although Shen Yun depicts traditional Chinese culture to the world-over, audiences in China today cannot actually see the performance at its roots. For over 60 years, the communist regime in China has sought to decimate every aspect of tradition in the country.
For Ms. Scherer, this situation was the most difficult to accept.
“The most heart wrenching part for me was that this has been going on for thousands of years, and they can’t do it in their own country,” she said, referring to Shen Yun performing in China.
“They have such a beautiful art form and such a beautiful message, and they can’t even do it in their own country,” she continued. “That’s heart wrenching.”
Beyond the gamut of emotions that run through the performance, Ms. Scherer felt that more people should indeed make a point to see Shen Yun.
“If you’ve never seen, it go see it; if you’ve seen it, go see it again, because I think that the message is constantly updated and changing,” she said. “It’s moving—you can’t lose.”
Shen Yun a ‘Feast For the Senses’ in Seattle
As it wrapped up its 2015 run through the northwest United States, Shen Yun Performing Arts had one last curtain to close at Seattle’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall on April 6.
“The costumes are just amazing!” said Diane Gibbs, a former IT testing manager. “It’s a cultural event. I love it.”
Shedding light on China’s 5,000 years of divinely imparted culture, Shen Yun is indeed a cultural event for the ages. Through its one-of-a-kind mix of music and dance, Shen Yun, in fact, seeks to revive the culture that was nearly lost at the hands of the communist regime.
“It’s the Chinese culture from way, way back,” Ms. Gibbs added. She was especially struck by the fact that Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditions have been nearly lost.
“How repressive!” she said, remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and that today’s China is still as repressive as ever. “I can’t think of the word I want to say, but the people are just so downtrodden and held down in every regard. They’re gonna lose their culture if the communists have their way.”
But in terms of the art of Shen Yun, “I love the color, the pageantry, the music, the choreography,” she said. “It’s beautiful!”
Ms. Gibbs was struck—”awestruck,” she said—by “the pageantry, the amount of work that went into it, the music, the dance, the choreography, the practice,” but most notably, by the costumes.
Each costume in a Shen Yun performance is a depiction of China’s cultures through the ages, which range “from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people,” according to the company’s website.
“Keeping track of that many costumes for this many people would be an awesome undertaking,” Ms. Gibbs said. “It’s very beautifully done.”
She concluded that the performance was “a feast for the eyes, a feast for the senses.”
“It’s very worthwhile to attend,” she said.
Reporting by Michael Green and Michael Fitzgerald
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
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.