Newspaper Designers Value Shen Yun’s Renewal of Chinese Culture

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Chanel Martin and Phillippe Diokno brought the whole family, seven total, to see Shen Yun Performing Arts’ 2014 opening-night performance in Jacksonville at the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Martin and Mr. Diokno are both designers at the Florida Times-Union Newspaper, a paper that boasts 146 years of business operations, functioning under different names during the early years.

“It was beautiful. The coordination, the colors, the sounds—everything was great,” Mr. Diokno said.

Ms. Martin added, “It was really nice to see all the combinations of the traditional and the contemporary.” She said the whole family got involved and enjoyed the performance.

According to Shen Yun’s website, “Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day.”

Ms. Martin said it was helpful having the emcees there to elaborate on the stories and also to “impress the importance of returning some of these aspects of the culture back to the Chinese people.”

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts holds the important mission of reviving 5,000 years of divine culture through music and dance. This aspect alone left an impression on Ms. Martin and Mr. Diokno.

“This is our first communication and this is our first education—through our arts,” Ms. Martin said, referring to her family’s learning that the traditional Chinese culture is repressed in today’s China under communist rule.

“It’s an awful shame to know that certain parts of the culture from that country are not allowed to even be recognized,” she said. “And so this is particularly important for it [Shen Yun] to continue.”

Mr. Diokno agreed and said he thought it was a special thing to be able to witness Shen Yun. He said it is not just something to enjoy artistically, but is also “a message of history and culture that I think anyone can understand.”

He said he would recommend that others see Shen Yun, if not in Jacksonville over the weekend, then in another city, or even the following year if there is an opportunity.

The Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will offer three more engagements this weekend before departing from Jacksonville: two on Saturday—an afternoon and an evening performance—and one Sunday afternoon, a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day, with color and culture, music and dance.

Ms. Martin said, “I would say it is important to keep coming. We’ll be here next year and I am looking forward to continuing it.”

Reporting by Edie Bassen and Adam Miller

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.

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