Shen Yun Helping Culture Shine Through in Seattle

SEATTLE—As Shen Yun Performing Arts makes is pass around the globe, delivering its revival of traditional Chinese culture, Seattle’ Marion Oliver McCaw Hall played the benefactor again, as it hosted the final leg of Shen Yun’s 2015 northwest United States run.

But Jim Aigner, a retired manager at Boeing, was already no stranger to Shen Yun. “I had seen it 3 years ago and loved it,” he said.

Mr. Aigner attended the performance with his granddaughter, Sydney. “Shen Yun was one of things I was exposed to three years ago,” he said. “I loved it.”

In particular, he said was impressed by Shen Yun’s revival of China’s ancient traditions. For Chinese traditions, he said, hold “a lot of good value there that is hidden in today’s China.” And he added that, in terms of the communist regime in power, “We don’t see that,” referring to any emphasis at all on tradition.

“I think it will be inevitable that the Chinese people will get more and more freedoms,” he said. “The emphasis on family, the emphasis on order, and the emphasis on public service,” are all important, in terms of ancient Chinese society, he continued.

As well as ancient legends, Shen Yun portrays contemporary tales of courage. He referred to one piece where practitioners of Falun Dafa [also called Falun Gong]—a traditional meditation practice—demonstrate compassion when faced with persecution.

“The whole Falun Gong part was interesting to me,” he said.

Falun Gong practice—which is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—has helped millions of Chinese people come to know the essence of true Chinese culture.

Despite the fact that Shen Yun is the premier music and dance company in the world, Shen Yun cannot be seen in mainland China due to the communist agenda of eliminating traditional cultural values.

“I like the idea that they are supporters of ancient Chinese culture, [but] not so for much modern Chinese culture,” Mr. Aigner said of Falun Gong. Through the performance, he added that he now sees Falun Gong as “more than that. I think that it really is a strong effort to return to the roots of Chinese culture.”

Overall, Mr. Aigner said he hopes for a bright future for Chinese society. “I hope they can progress to where their old culture shines through,” he said. “And they don’t have to go through all of the pain some of the other groups have done in order to become free.”

Reporting by Mary Zhang and Michael Fitzgerald

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

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