HOUSTON, Texas—Attorney Tom Hoang was impressed by Shen Yun Performing Arts’ message about life.
“It is more than just a performance,” he said after watching the world’s foremost classical Chinese dance and music company at the Jones Hall for Performing Arts.
The message is embedded in the themes of eternity and destiny, he said. “And so that’s why we believe it,” said Mr. Hoang, who practices family law and real estate.
Shen Yun, which translates as “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” is reviving China’s authentic traditional culture that, under 70 years of communist rule, has all but disappeared.
The ancient Chinese taught that Chinese culture was passed down by heavenly deities to earthly beings, and that the arts, education, and society are inspired by moral, ethical, and spiritual teachings.
The messages in Shen Yun’s dances and lyrics resonated with Mr. Hoang. The dance “300 Years in One Day,” the story of two people with a predestined relationship, was particularly meaningful for him.
“That came home to us because it’s very much what we believe in,” he said. “You can look for someone all your life. You can look for love but you never find it. But sometimes, love is there already, because it’s your destiny. You’re meant to be with whoever you live or you are meant to do whatever you are supposed to do. We believed in that before we came to the [performance.] I said, ‘Wow, this has a message’.”
“But also, we appreciate that [Shen Yun] brings a message to the general public [that] what do you do in your life now has consequences. And don’t believe in the noise and the visuals and everything of modern technology, because you’re still who you are,” Mr. Hoang said.
“Our final destination is what we decide, it is what we do now. It’s not some predetermined destination. If you live a good life now, you reap the rewards,” he said.
The beauty of Shen Yun is more than the actual performance, it’s the subtle messaging, he added.
“It didn’t hit you in the face. It didn’t tell you, hey, this is what you should do. Through the performance or through the very light messages, it provokes thought [in] others who may not believe it,” he said, adding that Shen Yun’s director and performers shared his own beliefs about life.
It is a very high-quality performance, Mr. Hoang said. “We sat close enough to the front where you can actually see the expression on the performers’ faces. And I was surprised because it wasn’t just the movement, it was the expression.”
The performers were amazing, he said. He felt that, through the performers, a Creator was transmitting a message. “I felt each emotion. It was already in me but they woke up my energy, they woke up what I believed in,” he said.
People can view spirituality in different ways, Mr. Hoang said.
“And I think we all believe when we do good things, good things happen and [from whatever] we do, we will reap the benefit or pay the result,” he said.
Barry Sames, a jazz musician and his wife, Dionne Sames, a real estate agent was also in the audience enjoying Shen Yun. The couple are co-partners in the company, Sames Music Entertainment.
Mr. Sames was delighted to learn that Shen Yun performs with a live orchestra.
“I loved the combination of the folkloric Asian instruments with traditional European music. The execution of the dancers was just amazing to me [and] it was good to know that they have new music every time,” he said, referring to the fact that each year, Shen Yun produces a whole new performance.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it blends traditional Chinese instruments with classical Western instruments.
The musicians were very professional, said Mr. Sames, who grew up as a classical musician.
Mrs. Sames was very impressed by the special effects in Shen Yun’s animated background. “The technology mixed in with the ancient culture, and then at the end, where they did the modern men dancing in the last scene … I thought that was great for … the younger audiences,” she said.
Shen Yun is multigenerational, she added. “I could come … with my grandmother, my husband, my children, all generations, and this [performance] connects everything together. And I think it gives kids a little bit of a view of the creativity of using the screen and how [the actors] would basically pop up. I thought that was amazing.”
Mrs. Sames also appreciated that Shen Yun’s hosts were introducing each performance in both Mandarin and English.
Classical Chinese dance is founded on traditional aesthetics influencing other art forms such as modern ballet and gymnastics.
Shen Yun’s baritone was outstanding said Mr. Sames, adding that it was the first time he had ever listened to an operatic piece in Mandarin. He also appreciated the English translation which was projected onto the backdrop.
Reporting by Sherry Dong 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.