ATLANTA—Hank Dean was instantly drawn to the ladies with flowing dresses that glided across the stage when he went to see Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“The way they dance, they flow, I mean it’s just like, it’s almost unreal. They’re so smooth and graceful, I mean all of them, they’re really good!” Dean said.
Dean experienced the traditional dance and music performance at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 11. The New York-based company is in the midst of touring the world with the mission to bring back genuine traditional culture to the modern world.
Dean, who was a CEO for several companies throughout his career before retiring, said Shen Yun’s mission is important.
“You don’t want to lose all your heritage,” he said.
“Heritage is good, it gives you roots and where you’re from and gives you strength,” he said.
“Life’s not always easy and sometimes it’s good to have a heritage and be able to draw upon that and get more strength to do better things for your families and whoever you work for.”
“So I think these things add to making people more productive and people getting along better,” he added.
Dean said his key takeaway after experiencing Shen Yun is that people need to live harmoniously while working together.
“You [can] feel the harmony off of [Shen Yun], I don’t know, it’s hard to describe but you [can] feel like it’s very mellow and harmonious,” he said. “There’s a lot of harmony [in the performance] and you think, with the world as it is now—everywhere in the world—everybody could use harmony.”
Harmony is one of the many universal values and themes the performance depicts through its dances and stories. Many of Shen Yun’s stories showcase historical events, myths and legends passed down generation after generation, and modern day pieces including those portraying today’s real-life human rights abuses in China.
They portray themes like spiritual devotion, the benevolence of gods, good and evil retribution, and the search for the meaning of life, according to the company’s website. Such values are foundational to traditional Chinese culture and are not political in nature.
Unable to Perform in China
Dean said he was also sad to learn that Shen Yun is unable to perform in China, adding that hopefully, that could change one day.
Although Shen Yun showcases Chinese culture, it has been barred from performing in communist China. In fact, their performances have repeatedly faced interference from the Chinese embassy wherever they perform.
This is because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sees traditional Chinese culture, which is deeply rooted in Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, as its greatest rival—it is also something Shen Yun is trying to revive.
Instead of preserving the culture, the CCP has launched many movements aimed at dismantling China’s 5,000 years of civilization and traditional culture. From cultural sites and temples to ancient relics and people’s beliefs, much of China’s history and spirit were destroyed after the communist regime seized power.
This is why Shen Yun is determined to bring back everything that truly defined the Chinese people.
Dean said the company is doing a great job at achieving that. He said, “I hope it keeps going and doing this, because it’s a wonderful play and it really, it’s a beauty to anybody that sees it.”
With reporting by NTD Television.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.