(Clearwisdom.net) Note from editor: This article was written after the author saw a Shen Yun Performing Arts show at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in the beginning of 2011. Now that Shen Yun is again on its annual global tour, the author sent in this article to share his feelings with other Clearwisdom readers.

On January 12, 2011, a friend asked me to go and watch Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York. I was so deeply touched by the show that I bought another ticket and went to watch the show again on January 15. It is a very beautiful, unique, high-class show of Chinese traditional arts that combines dance, vocals, music, costumes and choreography into a perfect presentation. It not only offers people a rare and entertaining experience, but also allowed me to enjoy a feast for my mind and soul.

First of all, I could not help but notice the unique beauty of the way the colors are combined and their application in the show. People tend to link China with huge splotches of the color red. However, in this show, from backdrops, costumes to props, the color themes are both rich and simple, elegant and bright, close to real life and going beyond; they may look ordinary, but when you think more carefully, you will find that even a tiny bit of discrepancy makes a difference of ten thousand miles. Many of the color tones and the way they are combined are hard to find in everyday life. Of course the color combinations are also closely tied to the costumes for a particular story: from the headdresses and the beautiful decorative patterns on the props, to the dance formations. In short, the use of color in this show is very unique and beautiful, and it inspires people’s imagination, and awakens their love of art and their creativity.

Secondly, the show has very rich and profound connotations. While watching this classical and authentic show, a sense of noble morality stole over me, a feeling that I had not had for a long time. Shen Yun makes one feel the preciousness and the beauty of life, and this naturally encourages people to think deeply about the meaning of their life. For someone like me who grew up during the “Cultural Revolution” in China, the education I received denounced “orthodox ideas” and “traditions,” and China’s traditional heritage was labeled by the Communist party as “reactionary, feudal, superstitious, backwards and vulgar.” However, watching Shen Yun has helped me gain a positive understanding about our true Chinese heritage and traditional culture.

I have learned not to blindly follow other people’s opinions as well as the importance of keeping an independent mind. I belong to the generation of mainland Chinese that grew up during the “Cultural Revolution.” When I was little, I was told not to watch this and that; otherwise I would be considered “counter-revolutionary” or one would be slapped with frightening labels, be criticized and arrested, or considered an outcast, and be deprived of life and freedom. Having lived through a series of political movements in China, and especially after we came to live in a free society, many Chinese people realized that we had been held back, deceived and misled. Currently, the Shen Yun performance is banned in China, and I heard that if artists from the mainland join the Shen Yun Performing Arts company, they will be dealt with as “counter-revolutionaries.” I don’t know what will happen in China, but I’m not afraid to go to a Shen Yun show and what others say won't keep me from going. After watching Shen Yun, my friend and I both felt we were very fortunate. My friend was moved to tears several times during the show. In addition to the rich and wonderful artistic and spiritual enjoyment we experienced, I witnessed a significant scene in history, and I was re-connected to my sense of spirituality and moral integrity. We live in a free society and our way of thinking is also open and free; yet we should not take our freedom for granted and we need to earnestly learn about traditional values, to nurture and protect our culture.

Some people talk about multiculturalism. They believe that different languages and dialects should not be viewed as labels for one's race, status or cultural level. Each of Shen Yun’s ethnic dances and their respective costumes make people feel good about them. The difference merely lies in style and culture, and there is no prejudice. I feel that Shen Yun Performing Arts demonstrates the spirit of humanity inherent in Chinese traditional culture through impressive singing and dancing, costumes and colors.