LAKELAND, Fla.—Linda Howard, a retired dental laboratory technician, said she loves watching television programs about Chinese culture and dress. Wanting to see Shen Yun Performing Arts, she finally brought her husband Mike Howard, also a retired dental laboratory technician, and friend Dan McBride, pastor at Victory Church, to the performance at the Youkey Theatre on March 15.
“[Shen Yun] is telling a story of the past, showing where the future is through music, through singing, [and] through their costumes,” said Mrs. Howard. “They just bring it alive and combine the old with the new.”
Mr. Howard thought the whole production was flawless and that “every scene was exceptional.”
The orchestra that blends Eastern and Western instruments, the classically trained dancers, and the virtuoso vocalists that sing Chinese lyrics using the bell canto style, he said, were “all perfect!”
“The orchestra was fantastic … it’s perfect all the way through,” he said, “the musicians and the dancers and the singers—all perfect!”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based pieces that tell tales from ancient times to the modern day.
Mr. McBride was impressed with Shen Yun’s patented method of integrating a 3D animated backdrop with the stage performance, allowing the performers to seamlessly travel back and forth between the stage and the background projection.
“It was really cool to see the technology and the integration with the screen and the dance and the characters going in and out of the screen and jumping back on the stage—very enjoyable,” he said.
Moved by the story-based dance portraying the persecution of Falun Dafa, a meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, Mrs. Howard said, “you don’t hear what’s coming out of China because they mute it, and this gives us more insight into the struggles.”
In regards to the spiritual undertones of the performance, Mr. McBride said it “encourages a return to values and morality and treating others with respect.”
“We thought the young people … devoted an incredible amount of effort to perfecting their craft and their dance and their artistry, and we would certainly say congratulations and keep it up,” he said.
‘All 10’s Across the Board’
Harvey Ranard, retired Navy captain, also attended the performance of Shen Yun with his wife Barbara at the Youkey Theatre on March 15.
“We’re just absolutely loving this,” said Mr. Ranard, “the production, the choreography, the lighting, costumes, it’s just amazing!”
“I’ve learned a lot already tonight from the production,” he added.
According to the company’s website, Shen Yun’s costumes and colors are true to traditional aesthetics and styles, painting each dance piece with the splendor of the past.
Mr. Ranard greatly respected Shen Yun’s mission to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture, demonstrating “China before communism.”
“I appreciated the traditional classic and the sadness of losing that to communism in the country,” he said.
“One thing that we learned in the military going all over the world is that every nation’s people, like us, are just trying to raise their families and inspire to their beliefs and values,” he added.
“What gets my attention is what the current government has done to the people—the oppression and cruelty—they just seem to have their sights set on disturbing the whole world, not just their own people, and that concerns me greatly.”
With gratitude, Mr. Ranard expressed his appreciation for all of the Shen Yun performers.
“I want to offer them my highest commendation … for their talent and dedication and their performance,” he said, “all 10’s across the board!”
Reporting by Sally Sun, Erin Xia, and Jennifer Schneider.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.