Designer Finds Inspiration in Shen Yun

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Chad Howard, a designer, and his wife Kimberly Howard, an accountant, watched Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts on April 6.

“The color choices for the outfits were amazing,” said Mr. Howard.

“They’re graceful, so graceful,” added Mrs. Howard. “I’ve never seen it before, and I’m absolutely blown away.”

Based in New York, Shen Yun was founded in 2006 and is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Now with eight equally sized companies touring the world simultaneously, Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture.

Mr. Howard shared that he was very interested in East Asian culture and that he was mesmerized by the performance.

“Everything was just phenomenal,” he said. “You could feel this sort of emotion come off just the way they dance and [the] expressions on their face. They really love what they do, and it’s just absolutely amazing.”

Mr. Howard added that he found plenty of inspiration in Shen Yun.

“There was so much … So much circles and flowing and just colors, bright colors. I just want to go home and just design this collage of just melting paint. It’s just very fluidic. So much inspiration,” he said.

“I could talk to you all day about inspiration, but it’s all running through my head. Just the color theory in general that you see there, it was just on par with what they were doing … it was a perfect match, a perfect match with the colors, with the choreography. Everything was just amazing.”

Shen Yun’s program also includes story-based dances, some of which are set in modern-day China and depict the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of followers of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

“They can’t even practice their own religion which is just heartbreaking,” said Mr. Howard.

“The emotion they had up there just had me in tears,” said Mrs. Howard. “It’s beautiful in a sense that it has the emotion, but it’s so sad knowing that that goes on.”

Connecting With the Audience

Mr. and Mrs. Howard both found Shen Yun’s performance powerful in its ability to connect to the audience on an emotional level without using any words.

“When you can connect with the audience in such a powerful way without saying anything—it’s just motion, color, and theatrics—that’s beautiful,” said Mr. Howard.

When asked what message they got out of the performance, Mr. Howard answered, “Love each other, respect each other, be kind, be thoughtful … [and] togetherness.”

“Compassion, [and to] feel free to believe what you believe,” was Mrs. Howard’s reply. “There’s a spiritual thing there that you can just feel.”

According to Shen Yun’s website, traditional Chinese culture is deeply rooted in spiritual teachings from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which Shen Yun aims to depict on stage. Mr. Howard said that he appreciated the way spirituality was presented.

Finally, the couple said that they would be telling their friends to see Shen Yun.

“I’m absolutely going to tell everybody. You have got to see the show,” said Mrs. Howard. “It’s worth every penny. You have got to see it.”

Reporting by Lily Yu 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.

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