CEO Finds Shen Yun’s Spirituality and Coordination ‘Impressive’

ST. LOUIS—CEO of Legacy Health and Benchmark Healthcare, John Sells, wife and colleague, Maria, and 8-year-old daughter, Savannah, had an enlightening, educational, and warm experience at the Peabody Opera House on Feb. 21, when they saw Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company.

The New York-based Shen Yun has four companies that tour more than 100 cities and 20 countries worldwide each season. Its mission is to revive the ancient traditions and culture of China through the performing arts.

“Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does. Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” the Shen Yun website states.

The Shen Yun program is divided into 20 or so vignettes, each introduced by bilingual (English/Mandarin) emcees that retell China’s myths, legends, and history from ancient times to the present.

Mrs. Sells felt the performance was absolutely beautiful and that the colors and the costumes fit the stories perfectly, making them more magical. “The stories are incredible. They have a lot of meaning,” she said.

“My family is very spiritual,” Mrs. Sells explained. “So, I feel that it touches you. The music and the dance touch you. It just made you feel very warm inside and makes you feel good.”

What she took away from the performance were some important affirmations “like if someone is hurt… you try to help them because they are in pain, and you keep extending your hands to them, and by loving them and being compassionate, it may turn them to be compassionate themselves.”

Her husband found that the performance was very spiritual and that it had an underlying “aspect of hope.” He found that there were a lot of lessons to be learned in each segment of the program. “I think the performance relating to the protester and how they show compassion and tolerance—this is a must see,” he said.

The overall performance was very moving for Mr. Sells. He was enlightened by the fact that Shen Yun is not allowed to perform in China.

According to Shen Yun’s website, “Over its past 60 years of rule, the communist regime has treated traditional Chinese values—centered on the idea of harmony between heaven and earth—as a threat to its existence.” Thus Shen Yun cannot perform in China while the current regime is in control.

Mr. Sells hadn’t realized how expressive and synchronized the traditional Chinese arts could be, as well as how educational it all was. “I haven’t been to anything—any show like this,” he said.

Mrs. Sells would say to her friends “If they want to learn something, this is the place to come, and this is the performance they need to see.”

She found Shen Yun to be an absolutely educational experience for young children, stating that her daughter had no trouble understanding the emcees or the meaning behind the dances.

Miss Savannah Sells said that “The Fable of the Magic Brush” was her favorite part of the program “because it teaches you a lesson that if you were good then you will receive the things that are good. I would tell my friends to go because it teaches you really good lessons about being compassionate and about life.”

Reporting by Stacy Chen and Andrew Darin

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.

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