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‘Fascinating, Very Thought-Provoking’ Stories in Shen Yun Move Business Owner

AUSTIN, Texas—Shen Yun Performing Arts, a global sensation, performed 14 shows on Saturday, Jan. 7. Seven of its eight touring companies took to the stage on the same day, spanning three continents around the world.

At The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Keith Carpenter and Amy Graves were amazed by the scale of Shen Yun, especially when they learned that the New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company put on a whole new production every year.

“That was fascinating,” said Mr. Carpenter, a business owner. “It was very moving.”

Ms. Graves enjoyed the storytelling experience Shen Yun created through multiple performing art forms.

“They pulled it all together so well. The way they brought it in on the stage … and then brought it all together was very thought-provoking,” Ms. Graves said.

All the stories were really fascinating, very thought-provoking.

— Keith Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter added, “All the stories were really fascinating, very thought-provoking.”

A Shen Yun performance includes nearly 20 vignettes, many of which are story-based classical Chinese dance pieces. The performances also include ethnic and folk dances and musical solos.

Mr. Carpenter and Ms. Graves both said they felt the experience was a moving one. From a solo of the two-stringed erhu, an ancient Chinese instrument, to stories from historical to present-day China, the couple felt the content provided food for thought—and for the spirit.

“It moved us, it was deeply spiritual,” Ms. Graves said. “It made us think about a lot of things.”

Courage and Virtue

Also in the audience was Jessica Pennington, an investigative researcher whose work currently involves exposing how much land in Texas is actually owned by Chinese state entities.

She attended the performance with her husband, , and though they arrived late, Mrs. Pennington said that the moment she saw the performance, “I was just crying like a baby, it was beautiful.”

Jacob and Jessica Pennington at Shen Yun Performing Arts at Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts, on Jan. 7, 2023. (Sally Sun/The Epoch Times)

“[It] was just stunning, it was breathtaking,” she said. “I used to live in China. And in China, it was beautiful to be invited into the villages and seeing what little bit of beautiful Chinese culture was left. because communism kills and destroyed everything it touches, but there’s still a little bit of hope when I left.”

Shen Yun is known for its revival of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. More specifically, as stated on its website in recent years, this is China before communism.

Mrs. Pennington said, “That was really beautiful, to experience in China and then to come back here and to see the full force of the beautiful traditions that China has. It’s just stunning. It’s breathtaking, and I was crying the entire time.”

She applauded Shen Yun for showing the truth about China and its people. Once known as the Celestial Empire, the Chinese believed for thousands of years that its culture was divinely inspired. The communist regime that took power in the last century held opposite beliefs, instilling atheism with its rule and stamping out traditional culture. Shen Yun is currently unable to go to China, where many of the artists still have family members.

Mrs. Pennington said she would express her gratitude to the performers, given the chance.

“Because it’s beautiful, and to stand up for truth is something that is very brave and courageous,” she said. “Courage is a virtue that all other virtues rest upon. And without it we couldn’t have any virtue … and even for just performing, just the way they show the beautifulness of Chinese traditions—thank you for doing that.”

Reporting by Sally Sun. 

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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