Mr. Brunson, an independent video producer, said he had no idea how tangible the spiritual tradition in China was. “All of the music and the dance, the feeling, the graphics, and the integration on the stage—it was just really amazing. It was really transporting.
“I was moved, deeply moved. And the message of compassion and peace that came out was really touching,” he said.
He found the final dance [Buddha’s Compassion Shines Forth] especially moving. It portrays Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) practitioners peacefully doing their meditative exercises in parks around the world when the scene shifts to China and disaster strikes. (The Chinese communist regime has severely persecuted Falun Gong practitioners since 1999.)
What the dance portrayed, he said, cannot be expressed in China today but can be presented to the rest of the world. “The world needs that message, the message of peace and compassion—how amazing that that’s being done.”
“It was like all of the things that had happened in the past, all of those thousands of years, right up to current time—there was a feeling that it wasn’t historical, it was actually now. It was really amazing.”
“And I could feel the performers. It’s more than just a dance—there’s something actually moving with them,” he said.
“I want to find out more about that meditation practice,” he said, still speaking about the final scene. He had heard of tai chi and qigong but not about Falun Dafa. “I want to know more. It seems like something really vital.”
An Impact in the World
Mr. Brunson emphasized how impressed he was by the spiritual content of the entire performance: “It was surprising. I didn’t anticipate anything like that. I was expecting music and the dance, the color, the costumes, and the historical, but there was a definite heart thread running through the whole show. …. It was there to move people, not just entertain people. It’s beautiful.”
“This is not just a show for people to sit back … You could enjoy it as just that—entertainment. But I could feel around me people were moved in a way that I don’t think they were expecting.
“I think people came expecting dance, and music, and entertainment, and there was something else—this feeling, this intention. I think it has an impact in the world.”
“The music was great. It was such a really interesting blend of all the classic Chinese sound—even the Chinese harmonies and melodies with Western harmonies and melodies and instrumentation. Really well-done. Everything about it was superb.”
Artistic Expression of Spirituality
Juliana Witte, who accompanied Mr. Brunson, said she “enjoyed the color and the expression of the movements, and the combination of the East and West.” Ms. Witte described her work as coordinating the translation of a course into many different languages and said she has some background in dance.
She said the performers were “expressing something at a higher level than just art.” “Our highest form of art is spiritual anyway, in any art that we do.”
She was aware of the repression of spirituality, of many faiths, in China. “So I could understand the longing to be able to express that spirituality in their own culture and their own country. That came across very strongly and very sweetly,” she said.
“I felt it when I first saw [Shen Yun] advertised. I told him we need to go to this because I felt that there was a spirituality to it.”
‘You Have to See It’
Mr. Brunson said he would tell his friends: “You have to see it. It’s just that simple. You have to come see this. You have to feel it for yourself.”
He said he would like to see Shen Yun again next year and was already thinking of whom they need to bring. “She has a son-in-law who’s Chinese, and he needs to see this.”
“I think all my children and grandchildren need to see this for many reasons,” Ms. Witte said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Louise Rothman
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.