Shen Yun a Window into Chinese Culture, Professor Says

BURLINGTON—Canvassing 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, the stories, songs, and dances presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts illustrate the triumphs and tribulations of a people who have long held a deeply-rooted belief in the divine.

Paulette Thabault, professor and director of the school of nursing at Norwich University, particularly enjoyed the educational value of the performance.

“It’s very beautiful. The dance is really fantastic and a lot of beautiful colors, and music,” she said.

“I like the stories that go with it, it’s kind of a window into a culture that we’re not that familiar with.”

She attended the performance with Peter Gunther, physician, who said he felt a sense of pure joy watching the different pieces unfold on stage.

“[It’s] just incredible, the movements, the costumes. It’s glorious,” he said.

The couple attended the performance at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont, on April 28.

The New York-based dance company is currently touring the world, traveling to more than 130 cities over four continents to showcase authentic Chinese culture. Founded in 2006, the company has since grown to include six equally-large touring contingents, each including an orchestra, that travel the world each year bringing an all-new program.

Thabault particularly liked the Mongolian ethnic dance piece performed by Shen Yun’s male dancers. In that segment, dancers capture the spirit of the Mongolian horsemen, hunting and riding across the vast plains.

The story of the dim-witted monk also impressed the professor, who enjoyed the injections of fun and humor into the storytelling.

The soprano, who sang about humans’ connection with the divine, touched both Thabault and Gunther.

“She was really beautiful singing from her heart … about the value of humankind and how we all need to love each other and stay connected,” Thabault said.

“I think it was an international message of openness and divinity,” added Gunther.

The doctor felt the importance of this message in modern times.

“I think now more ever, the message of cross-cultural divinity … [is] incredibly important because the world is in turmoil and we need bring it back to some sensibility.”

Upon finding out that the performance cannot be seen in China, Thabault expressed a sense of sadness that performance’s peaceful message couldn’t reach more people.

“I think that’s really bad because it makes it not open to a lot of people and kind of closed off,” she said.

Gunther added, “I think we are fortunate to be able see that culture here.”

With reporting by NTD Television.

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