Shen Yun Delivers a Joyful and Profound Experience

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—“The whole thing was joyful. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before,” said Terri Newby, marketing manager for a large home improvement company. “I’m really excited that I came.”

Ms. Newby brought her cousin to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts on May 9. She said they both thoroughly enjoyed the performance: “It was unique—the costumes, the choreography. … It gives a good sense of Chinese culture and heritage.”

“I’m really excited, and I was glad to see it. I have a better understanding through the dance—the history, the stories, the legends, how they relate, and especially the spiritual aspect of Chinese history and culture. It was all celebrated through the dance. … It was just an enlightened experience,” Ms. Newby said.

It was the universal themes that made such an impression on her: the desire for freedom of belief, the struggle between good and evil, the belief that there’s a better life after this one.

Shen Yun’s story-based dances are mini-dramas that recount China’s myths and legends, its historical tales as well as contemporary ones. “Every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated,” the Shen Yun website states. “Heroes are extolled for their compassion and tolerance as much as their courage or determination when facing adversity.”

Things to Contemplate

Bruce Pearson, a medical doctor, said the performance gave him “things to think about that I’ll have to contemplate for months probably.”

“We need to know more about China, and this is a wonderful example of [the artists’] performance capabilities. It’s tremendous,” Dr. Pearson said.

“It’s a very long history, 5000 years. … This is a good thing to be able to think about. It’s so colorful and active—that encourages us in our quest to learn more.”

Irene Pearson, Dr. Pearson’s wife, said she appreciated everything—the music, the costumes, the coordination. “As my husband said, they never make a mistake. They’re wonderful athletes and dancers.”

“It’s just a wonderful evening,” she added.

“I’ll be seeing some good friends tomorrow, and we’ll tell them they should come,” Dr. Pearson said.

This week Shen Yun completes its 2013–2014 world tour with performances in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Vienna; Honolulu; and Jacksonville. In Florida, Shen Yun gave more performances than ever this season, with 27 engagements in 8 cities across the state. The company’s last Florida engagement of the season will be Sunday, May 11, in Jacksonville.

Reporting by Serene Lee and Louise Rothman

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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