PORTLAND, Ore.—Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier Chinese classical dance and music company, is always a boon for music lovers. Its world-class orchestra and individual solo presentations of traditional Chinese instruments never fail to provide a breath-taking experience.
For retired music teacher Doreen Thorusen, this was certainly the case. Doreen, together with her husband James, a retired broadcast engineer for CBS Television, had come to see Shen Yun at the Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon. Doreen plays in the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra and teaches violin privately.
“The orchestra was perfect! They were really, really, good and I liked the blending of the Western instruments along with the Asian instruments. It was a very, very nice touch,” she said.
The virtuoso performance on the erhu, a traditional Chinese two-string violin, also impressed Doreen.
“She was awesome! And when [the musician] got the really fast part, when she was moving along, that was impressive,” she said.
The couple was so impressed that they bought copies of the Shen Yun music. “So, I can take them home and get my violin out and play some chords,” said Doreen laughing.
Shen Yun’s musical presentation was outstanding and an unforgettable experience, James said.
“I really got my comeuppance. I had my mind opened a little bit. Or if it’s not opened it’s cracked,” he said as they both laughed.
Shen Yun’s repertoire includes story-based classical dances as well as ethnic folk dancing. The stories depict China’s cherished myths and legends, many with moral themes, as well as historical events.
The company’s aim is to bring back the true traditional Chinese culture as it was in the pre-communist era. But its repertoire also includes more recent events.
James was particularly touched by the dance that portrayed the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa, an ancient spiritual practice derived from the schools of Buddha and Tao.
“I think an awful lot of people in Portland needed to hear [it] and probably a lot of them didn’t want to hear it,” he said, referring to the atrocities committed by the Communist Party.
The dance, “Insanity during the End of Days,” relates the pain of a father, a transplant surgeon, as he witnesses the cruel death of his daughter on his own operating table. His daughter was a follower of Falun Dafa.
”The truth is always profound,” James said.
“My feeling on it is that the Chinese government [is] extremely corrupt … Life is a gift from God and for [the Chinese communist regime] to take those people and kill them and harvest their organs and send [the organs] off to other countries, it’s wrong—it’s wicked,” Doreen said.
To ‘Heaven in this Lifetime,’ a musical piece sung by Shen Yun’s vocalist, resonated with the couple. The lyrics address the concepts of atheism, evolution, and the loss of moral values.
The idea that atheism and evolution lead to an abyss, is very true, said James.
“It may [that] we have a different spiritual approach, but the truth of that statement is undeniable,” he said.
Reporting by Mary Zhang and Diane Cordemans.