NEW YORK—Award-winning writer Lillian Firestone beheld the magnificence of Shen Yun Performing Arts on Wednesday night, and came away pleased and emotionally moved.
“I was crying, it was so beautiful,” she said after seeing Shen Yun at Lincoln Center. “So beautiful.”
Ms. Firestone was born in China and received her early education there before moving to the United States and eventually founding Indications Press and publishing several books about education, including The Forgotten Language of Children. Lillian is also founder of Firestone Associates, a public relations and marketing firm operating since 1964.
Many of Shen Yun’s members were also born in China—but the company is based in New York because artists do not enjoy the freedom to freely express themselves under the ruling communist regime. Through classical Chinese dance—one of the oldest and most comprehensive dance systems in the world—and a fusion of classical Chinese instruments and classical Western instruments, Shen Yun “weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” its website says.
“Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired,” it adds.
Ms. Firestone said that she does ballet and she particularly appreciated the gracefulness of the dancers.
“I thought the dancers were exquisite, incredibly talented. Each and everyone of them could be a principal dancer,” she said.
“I liked the way they all danced in unison. So perfectly synchronized. And I loved the costumes, too.”
Shen Yun’s dancers are accompanied not only by the unique orchestra—the performances also feature state-of-the-art digital backdrops and handcrafted costumes.
Interspersed between sets of dances are opera singers, who use bel canto technique to sing Chinese lyrics.
The songs are original works that are “brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and containing deep layers of meaning” and ”go beyond the boundaries of nation, race, and culture,” the company’s website describes.
Ms. Firestone connected with the songs. “I was also touched by the idea of the singers, that life is full of suffering, and that we come here looking for something of another nature,” she said. “That was very touching and I think that’s quite true.”
The writer and publisher was accompanied by her daughter, Dr. Risa L. Gold, who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Gold also connected with the spiritual nature that is inherent in the Chinese culture and comes through in the performance.
She said that “bringing spirituality into a dance form and into a musical form” was beautiful, and affirming for her.
“We really appreciated everything,” Dr. Gold said.
“I think a spiritual message is an important message for anybody, especially young people,” she added. “And I think if you bring a spiritual message with beautiful dancing and beautiful music, you might absorb the message and not even realize it. Especially the tales that were funny, that showed that great spiritual masters can pretend to be crazy monks. With a great sense of humor, I think children can learn more when something is funny.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber
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.