Shen Yun Shows a Need for Compassion in the World

CLEVELAND—”The journey was something that we were all able to join and experience together,” said Jim Willis after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts with his family on Feb. 11, at the State Theater.

Jim Willis, president of Executive Edge, Inc., said he was able to feel a closer connection to Chinese culture. His son is studying Mandarin, and so that family as a whole were learning more about Chinese culture.

Shen Yun, the New York-based dance and music company’s mission is in fact to restore traditional Chinese culture through performing arts. It showcases classical Chinese dance, bel canto style solo vocalists, and a full symphonic orchestra, featuring the eclectic timbre of Eastern and Western Instruments.

“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,” according to Shen Yun’s website.

“I thought the dancers were very skillful and the music was delightful. The Chinese traditions were wonderful,” Mr. Willis said.

“Much of it was steeped in the past and in, I think past beliefs in China, and I was able to travel to those places and enjoy those things,” he added and described having a feeling of being transported to China.

For Mr. Willis, the music and dance was something joyful, upbeat, and something he believes the average theatergoer could relate to. “It definitely had the Chinese cultural underpinnings, but it was also something that someone from a Western culture can … find joy in.”

Mr. Willis was pleasantly surprised to see spirituality represented in the performance. “I saw that the show was trying to get across that there is a need for compassion in the world; there is a need for caring about others in the world and there is a need for understanding that there is a linkage between people and Earth and heaven,” he said.

He explained that the underlying message of the performance was that “one needs to think more about the greater good than about one’s own self-interests … There would be value for the greater good, it will open people’s eyes to a deeper level of thinking about others.”

Reporting by Sherry Dong, Sally Sun 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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