JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.—Shen Yun Performing Arts is an opportunity to enjoy 5,000 years of authentic traditional Chinese culture and put aside the woes of the pandemic.
“There is always something to be scared of but you have to live past the fears that you have,” said April Herndon, as she gave her views on the pandemic.
“You have to go on with your life,” said April who is a realtor and CEO of two companies.
April, her husband James, and their family were enjoying Shen Yun when it was performed at the ETSU Martin Center for the Arts in Johnson City on Feb. 2.
April encouraged people to come and see Shen Yun, a performance that offers a panorama of traditional Chinese classical and folk dance and music that audience members say takes them into a wondrous realm.
“Seeing the beauty, seeing the elegance, hearing the music, seeing other human faces—Absolutely, people should come and be together,” she added.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive Chinese traditional culture which was brought to the brink of extinction under the communist regime.
April was most impressed and energized by the level of skill and vibrancy shown by the dancers. She was also amazed by how the company incorporated modern technology with dancing.
The company has patented digital technology that allows for seamless interaction between the projection and actors on stage.
She was especially impressed by the erhu, a traditional Chinese 2-stringed violin. “It’s beautiful, it’s very calming. And I’m a very high-strung person. So that’s unusual. Nothing really calms me. And that feels so good,” she said.
“So, I was listening to that how music can heal the soul, and I thought that was beautiful.”
“I don’t know how you cannot come to … [Shen Yun] and feel a difference in it and feel what it does for you. I don’t know how you could ignore it,” she said.
Her husband James is a mechanical engineer with Domtar, an international pulp and paper company. He thoroughly enjoyed learning about Chinese culture.
James noted the professionalism and synchronicity of the dancers. He said the colors were wonderful and the music brought up all kinds of emotions for him.
“Everybody involved in [Shen Yun]–you could tell they’re very passionate about it,” he said.
Scott Caudle, a surgeon, said Shen Yun gave a fantastic and inspiring performance.
“It really brings home a lot of the Chinese tradition and faith and gymnastics and the dancing was terrific.”
But Caudle was particularly fascinated by the baritone who sang ‘To Heaven in this Lifetime,’ which he said, raised the question of relying upon tradition as opposed to atheism.
The song speaks of how one descends to earth after a long journey through the planes of the heavens and finally meets the Creator.
“I think that the traditions of religions are important to hold the fabric of society together and binds society and makes us stronger. [It] gives us common values and the more common values you have, the more bindings of society and the stronger the society,” Caudle said.
“And I think that is what our society in the U.S is losing somewhat. I think it is important to have a good strong faith.”
He agreed that there was a Creator.
“I think we all serve one God, and I think a strong faith in God helps us become better people, helps us to follow a righteous path, and it makes us strive to be better people every day and show compassion [for] our fellow citizens,” said Caudle.
It is traditionally believed in China that their culture is divinely-inspired.
Shen Yun gave a marvelous exposition of Chinese traditional dance, it made a political statement and was a statement of faith, Caudle said.
“I think all of those are intertwined. You can show your faith through your dance and your culture through your dance,” he said.
‘[Shen Yun] inspired me. It is like watching a great movie. You feel good about the movie when you leave, you feel like you’re a better person, and it inspires you to greater things.”
I think traditions stand the test of time because they keep coming back because they are the core of society and the core of one’s person, one’s soul, and who they are.
Caudle believed that Shen Yun would succeed in its mission of restoring Chinese traditional culture.
“I think traditions stand the test of time because they keep coming back because they are the core of society and the core of one’s person, one’s soul, and who they are. Those critical values span time and span societies and span our peoples.”
Reporting by Sherry Dong, NTD and Diane Cordemans.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.