DENVER, Colo.—Adopted and brought from China to America when she was less than a year old, Beilin Brower had always thought of China as “this foreign land of mysticalness.” Yet when she saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at The Buell Theatre at DPAC on Mar. 9, she finally felt a connection to where she was born.
“The most amazing thing was feeling that connection back to my birthplace,” Ms. Brower said.
It was almost like there was a string in my heart that was connecting me all the way through the sky back to China, back to my home place.
“It was amazing. It was almost like there was a string in my heart that was connecting me all the way through the sky back to China, back to my home place,” she said.
“It was almost like as I was watching that performance, someone was plucking that string just with the music, and I could feel it inside … it was a really emotional experience.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006 and quickly became the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Over the years, Shen Yun has grown from one to eight equally sized companies, each with its own live orchestra, which combines traditional Chinese and Western instruments.
Ms. Brower also said that she enjoyed the erhu, a traditional Chinese two-stringed instrument.
“The erhu is my favorite traditional Chinese instrument of all time,” she said. “The only way I can describe it is like it’s like a human voice that’s wailing. It’s a beautiful wail that has like all sorts of emotions.”
A live performance of an erhu, she said, was “mind-blowing.”
“I’ve heard music [with] it, and I’ve heard songs and everything like that, but to see it in person, to watch what I was seeing and what I was feeling, experiencing all around together, it was just incredible.”
Ms. Brower said that although she does not know Chinese herself, she was still able to make connections to the stories in Shen Yun’s performance and find a sense of familiarity.
“The moment I sat down at Shen Yun and they told us about the next scene we were going to see, the next dance, I went, ‘I know that story. I know the story of Monkey King.’ And the moment the characters went out, I said, ‘I know exactly who that is.’”
Shen Yun: Depicting Persecution
Shen Yun’s program also includes story-based dances set in modern-day China that depict the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of followers of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Regarding the persecution, Ms. Brower said it’s horrible while adding that it’s also sad how common such things are. “There are lots of groups out there who are being persecuted for what they believe in and what they think, and it’s unfortunately so commonplace now that most people don’t even realize that this is a terrible thing that’s happening,” she said.
“I mean, how many disasters have we had in the last couple of years alone? It’s horrible that most people just look at the next disaster and go and just add it to the list and don’t think about it again,” she said.
“But this is a thing that’s happening, and this is personal to so many people. Also, just the oppression of thought is horrifying by itself … If you try to suppress an idea, then you’re basically suppressing free will or what a person is to their very core.”
Shen Yun: Reviving China’s Traditional Culture
Ms. Brower also expressed her enthusiasm for Shen Yun’s mission of reviving traditional Chinese culture and said that she was looking forward to learning more about China herself.
“I am so excited,” she said. “There are so many cool things that have happened in Chinese history. There are so many interesting ideas … even just like the books about cultivation or the idea about what beauty means, like you can be both strong and powerful and beautiful and graceful at the same time,” she said.
“The whole idea about how the world works and functions, about how there has to always be balance. It’s beautiful in its own way, and it’s really sad that more people don’t know about it.”
Reporting by NTD and Wandi Zhu.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.