CEO ‘Overwhelmed’ by Shen Yun’s Depiction of Chinese Culture and Spirituality

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—When New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts, a world-class Chinese classical dance and music performance, came to St. James Theatre on April 15, it brought with it a mission and story that resonated with many people.

“I was overwhelmed,” said Huhana Lyndon. Ms. Lyndon—who is CEO of the Ngatiwai Trust Board and Maori organisations in Whangarei—watched the matinee session of Shen Yun with her husband, Mark Scott, who is manager of Maori Outcomes in Whangarei District Council.

Ms. Lyndon said that watching Shen Yun had been a revelation, with her knowledge of Chinese culture having greatly expanded.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it. It was awesome, it was just a good showcase of Chinese culture, and all sorts of other ethnicities across the country. [I] went through quite a few emotions joy, sadness, happiness,” said Ms. Lyndon.

“I felt that I understood more about the cultural diversity of China, the history … thinking of the traditions and those stories of the past that were brought forward but also the ethnic dances [has] really thrown a light on how diverse China is,” she said.

Shen Yun depicts 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation—a period during which flourished a grand culture of art, music, theatre, dance and writing.

Ancient Chinese people believed that heavenly beings and earthly creatures once co-existed harmoniously. Thus ancient Chinese culture embodied something very spiritual.

Ms. Lyndon could feel the divinity and spirituality in the way that Shen Yun’s dancers portrayed their messages, “but also those connections to our God, our Creator.”

Mr. Scott was also effusive in his praise of Shen Yun. It was an insight into Chinese culture and its people—as well as their struggles. Mr. Scott said he connected to the spirituality that was expressed in Shen Yun.

“We are a very spiritual culture ourselves here in New Zealand, the Maori [people], and you could see that [spirituality] portrayed throughout the whole performance. It’s quite astounding just how far back a lot of these traditions and practices … go,” he said.

“Through the struggles comes strength and you could see this portrayed through [the story-based dances], through the clothes, through all the elements that were brought together to make up the complete show.”

Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the authentic traditional Chinese culture that existed during the pre-communist era. Once communism took over China, traditional culture was all but eradicated. Today, many religious and spiritual groups in China are severely persecuted.

Learning about Chinese culture was a boon for Mr. Scott.

“Understanding the land a bit more. Go[ing] through a journey back thousands of years but also connecting to what is happening today and it gives us [an] insight into what is one of the largest civilisations on the face of the earth,” said Mr. Scott.

While Shen Yun depicts many folklores and dynasties, its dances also portray the current persecution of Falun Dafa in China. Falun Dafa is a spiritual practice that is based on the timeless values of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.

Ms. Lyndon said she had gained a sense of hope after watching the performance. She learnt that through challenge comes resilience.

“It was a good insight into the Chinese culture, how spiritual they actually are.” Maori and Pacific Island people were also very spiritual people sharing the traditional Chinese spiritual belief where heaven and earth are brought together, said Ms. Lyndon.

“[I could] … feel the energy [in Shen Yun] on a couple of emotional levels really. It was a real sort of journey. You’re sort of going back in time, you’re coming back to today. You can feel that through the music and feel that through the portrayals, feel that through the stories.

“It was a bit of time travelling really,” she said.

Ms. Lyndon said she was grateful that Shen Yun shone a light on the ethnic diversity in China including some of the current issues that China faces today.

“[L]et’s not forget about all that history of the past and what it can teach us moving forward for society, and for the world at large.”

Reporting by NTD Television, Tang Ruo Zhou and Diane Rowe.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.

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