‘The best gift I have ever given’: Business Owner Gives the Gift of Shen Yun to Family

BALTIMORE—For Christmas this year, Joan Weber bought tickets for her whole family to go and experience Shen Yun Performing Arts. And it turned out better than she anticipated.

“It’s probably the best gift I have ever given my family,” she said.

Weber, who owns her own accounting services business, attended the evening performance of Shen Yun at The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland on Dec. 22, with her partner Doug Thompson, and her children, who were aged between 8 to 21.

“I wanted to share the beauty of Asia. I am half Korean and [I] wanted to share the beauty of Asia with my family—the essence of Asia,” Weber said.

Shen Yun showcases China’s five thousand years of semi-divine culture through classical Chinese dance and music. The New York-based company was formed in 2006 by overseas Chinese artists and displays the inner spiritual core of China’s culture.

Thompson, an entrepreneur, said what he experienced during the performance about China was different from what he commonly sees in the news about modern China.

“It ties together the history and culture for someone who is not Chinese,” Thompson said.

He added that each piece displays a different aspect of China’s long and rich history, with spirituality being an important aspect that ties it all together.

China itself was once known as Shen Zhou, or the Divine Land. This term describes a place where deities and mortals co-existed and a belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth, according to Shen Yun.

For thousands of years, Buddhism, Taoism, and other disciplines were at the heart of Chinese society. People lived by principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution. This culture was unfortunately uprooted in the 60 years since the atheist communist regime took power. The regime has been systematically destroying these traditional beliefs to the point of extinction.

The company’s mission is to revive these virtues and ancient traditions back into our world today.

Portal to a Different Time and Place

Thompson was also impressed by the use of colors, comedy, and visual media, which became a portal to a different time, place, and at times even transcended the world, to help with the storytelling.

“It’s been enjoyable to see all the movement, the passion, [and] technical excellence being displayed,” he said.

Shen Yun says their backdrops are “like magical windows that infinitely extend and transform the stage.” Their special background-stage performance interaction, now legally patented, allows performers to travel back and forth between the stage and the animated backdrop. The landscapes reflect China’s multifaceted geography, society, regions, and dynasties.

Meanwhile, Weber said throughout the performance she was looking at her children’s faces to see how they enjoyed the performance.

“They were stunned by the emotions of the music and the dance,” she said. “It is not very often you can share something spiritual, emotional, and full of beauty and life.”

“I could not have asked for anything more.”

With reporting by NTD Television and Janita Kan.

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