FRANKFURT, Germany—On the afternoon and evening of Jan. 11, Shen Yun Performing Arts performed for the second and third time this year at the Jahrhunderthalle Frankfurt. The audience responded enthusiastically, and especially in the sold-out evening performance, during which there were repeated applause and cheers at the end.
In Frankfurt, a renowned international financial center, Shen Yun’s performance attracted many prominent financial and business elites. Many businessmen said that they came out of their hectic work routine into the world of Shen Yun and saw the glorious culture of divine heritage and precious traditional values, which made for a relaxing and uplifting experiences.
The performance also attracted many Asian faces: Ms. Kim has been in Germany for nearly 40 years and worked in the art field in China. She said the performance was very good and the actors had a very high artistic level.
Ms. Zhang, an accountant, praised the performance. She said that as a Chinese woman, she felt proud and encouraged by the performance.
A flight attendant said that the group of artists came to Frankfurt on a flight that she herself had accompanied. She said, “I knew they were coming to Frankfurt, and I wanted to see the performance.” That afternoon, she said, she had been given the message the group had told her about on the plane. She got to see a different side of China, which she found “beautiful and inspiring,” she said.
New York-based Shen Yun was formed with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of Chinese civilization—a China before communism—through the universal languages of music and dance.
Since its inception in 2006, it has grown from one to eight companies, and become a global sensation. Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, and has put the art form on the map.
‘Right Up to Redemption’
Norbert Wulff and his wife Barbara also found Wednesday afternoon’s performance very impressive. Mr. Wulff is a lawyer and worked for many years in the financial industry in the boardroom.
On the one hand, he particularly liked “the combination of modernity with the history of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization,” which neither of them had expected.
On the other hand, he was impressed by the presentation of Chinese culture, in which “the spiritual side, the divinity play a big role. The fact that a great deal is derived from this, right up to redemption, which we saw in the last scene, was very impressive,” said Wulff.
The Wulff couple has been following China’s development “very intensively” over the past 30 years, the lawyer continued.
“I had been to Beijing and Shenzhen on business in 1995. At that time, I had been very interested in how this old trading nation, which had suffered greatly under communism, was reviving under the innovations that were introduced at that time. At that time, the Chinese economy was flourishing, and it’s painful to see how that’s all being curbed by the current Communist Party and how everything is falling back into the old ways.”
Mrs. Wulff expressed her interest in traditional Chinese culture, which she had wanted to see for so long, but unfortunately is no longer possible in the current China.
“The stage design, the dances anyway, the fine motor skills, I really liked it all,” she said. “Outstanding performance.”
Her husband emphasized how impressive it was to see how in all these nations that live under authoritarian rule, “there are still quite a lot of people who stand up against it and have the courage to rebel against that authority.”
At Shen Yun, he said, this happens “with wonderful dance and wonderful choreography. It is, I think, not without danger,” he added.
He wishes the artists would “carry the message forward in that friendly Chinese way” and he hopes that Chinese traditions can also be upheld.
“Every nation explains itself in the present from the past, from tradition. If I understand it correctly, Chinese tradition is very divine and spiritual. It is essential to continue to cultivate that so that these values are not lost,” he said.
His wife added that right today they will write a recommendation to the whole family to come and see the performance.
‘Worthy of Our Humanity’
Bettina Wiesmann, former member of the Hessian parliament and current chairwoman of the CDU in Frankfurt, was at the Jahrhunderthalle Frankfurt on the evening of Jan. 11 to see the third performance of Shen Yun in the city. She expressed her admiration for the artists’ courage in exposing the persecution of people by the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms. Wiesmann praised the skill of the Shen Yun artists, saying, “It’s a very challenging dance that involves many difficult techniques. Overall, it was a pleasure to watch. The men’s dance, which is physically demanding with many jumps and flips, was of a very high level. The women’s dance is also very good and requires a high level of body control and balance. I enjoyed it very much.”
Ms. Wiesmann was also fascinated by music: “What was also excellent, of course, was the accompaniment of the live orchestra playing music that matched the dance, and that also impressed me very much.”
For the politician, it was “a pleasure” to learn about the sacred Chinese culture, which has a “spiritual dimension,” she said. “It was a bit unusual for me, but I found it unforgettable and was happy to learn more about it.”
Reviving traditional Chinese values and divine culture is Shen Yun’s mission. Ms. Wiesmann said she thinks it is “important for human beings to live up to their potential to live good and moral lives in charity and respect for others.”
“In the end, what matters is that we prove ourselves worthy of our humanity—with our intellect and our moral possibilities—on earth,” she said.
For her, she said, there is a point at which Christianity and perhaps Chinese culture “can have a touch”: “That human beings have a divine side and that they need to make use of it, though.”
She continues, “Ultimately, it’s about using our wisdom and morality in the world and proving our worth. And it doesn’t matter so much what cultural background you have. That’s what we need to do here on Earth, and then we can help each other.”
10 out of 10 points
For a father with a son, attending the Shen Yun performance in Frankfurt was also a special experience.
“The splendor of colors and the variety were very admirable,” said Torsten Mierdorf, who, as a fan of Asia, was happy “to be able to see the old traditions and all these Chinese gods again.”
Mr. Mierdorf works as a district manager in sales for a well-known battery company and also teaches the Korean martial art of taekwondo.
“I’m also a spiritual person, and I think the whole package was right,” he continued. “The flow, the whole time thing—starting with the gods and then the evolution to today—it was really top notch and inspired us. We will definitely come again!”
His son Fabio was especially impressed with the dancers’ technique. “I thought the backflips and the fight scenes were really good,” he said, giving the performance 10 out of 10 points.
Mr. Mierdorf said the performance also brought attention to abuses in China.
“We know, of course, that it’s not easy to change something there, but through such a performance you can already contribute to changing something in the world. I thought that was very nice.”
Both sat in the front row and were also thrilled by the live orchestra, which they witnessed up close.
“Wonderful, flawless!” said Gunter Weiss after seeing Shen Yun. “The costumes were exquisite, and of course the precision [of the performance] was very memorable. It was incredible.”
Mr. Weiss is the CEO of a century-old family business in Germany that specializes in pest control. He came accompanied by his wife, Ute Weiss.
They said they were pleasantly surprised and had no idea the show would be so good. “The music and dancing were fantastic and very well put together. And I thought it was very brave that some of the positions were against the Chinese Communist Party, I’ve never seen anything like that,” the businessman continued.
Both thought the artistic level was excellent and praised the interplay between dancers and digital stage background, “which would have to be carefully planned” and made the experience “really unforgettable.“
Reporting by Nancy McDonnell.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.