(Minghui.org) In the last week of October, the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts presented 15 performances in five cities in three U.S. states: Modesto, Fresno, and Thousand Oaks, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Detroit, Michigan.
The Shen Yun New York Company at The Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks, California, on the evening of October 30. The company presented three sold-out performances in Thousand Oaks on October 30 and 31.
The Shen Yun Global Company at the Gallo Center for the Arts – Mary Stuart Rogers Theater in Modesto, California, on October 26. The company presented the final two of the four scheduled performances in Modesto on October 26 and 27.
Elise Devereux, an actress, and David Devereux, the owner of a small business, saw Shen Yun in Thousand Oaks, California, on October 31.
“It’s very eye-opening, I think, [for] the American people to see how China was and … what’s going on now in China. I can see the tyranny that the Chinese people are under,” Elise said.
China’s history needs to be told, she said, “because I don’t think a lot of people necessarily know [it].”
“[Shen Yun is] amazing. I hope China goes back to [the time] before communism—if that will ever happen. I really hope so! I hope America doesn’t become like that!” she added.
She also spoke about one of the bel canto vocalists who performed a song that introduced the divine Creator. “I was all emotional. [It] brought tears to my eyes actually,” she said.
“I think [communism is] trying to take God and everything out of humanity. And that’s what they do, that’s what communism is. They take everything, they strip the history, they strip God, they strip everything from the people. And it’s like you belong to them, the government,” Elise said.
David also said that he could identify with the message.
“I had this thought, [that] each culture has its ancient beliefs. And there’s a lot of differences but there’s a lot of similarities. And being from the Christian belief system, there’s a lot I could identify with—the Creator and [to] ‘hold on to the traditions.’ I noticed that line.
“We have to look to our Creator to get us through difficult times, like right now.
“Whether it’s Christian, whether it’s Judaism, or whatever faith it is... Communism stripped that... Hopefully, some people here will open their eyes to the reality of what the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] does,” David said.
With the American people suffering greatly through the pandemic, Shen Yun has much to offer, David said. “[It] brings a little joy that people can get back out—to some level of reality and normalcy,” he said.
“And you can see the influence from China on other cultures and see that it’s really beautiful,” he added.
Wally Herger, a retired Congressman representing Northern California; his wife Pam; and their friends saw Shen Yun at the Gallo Center for the Arts – Mary Stuart Rogers Theater in Modesto on October 26.
Mr. Herger and his wife have seen Shen Yun three times in the past four years and this time, they brought their friend Faye Amos, a retired government employee.
“You feel the beauty of God... You just feel everything is so beautiful. They’re so well coordinated. I could watch them forever,” Mr. Herger said.
Shen Yun's values also spoke to the couple. They found hope in the performance, saying that they saw the message of divine creation.
“[The performance] mentioned how communism, and atheism is taking over the world. But there are still good people... There are people like Shen Yun,” Mr. Herger said.
They were able to find a connection between Shen Yun and their own faith. Herger said that he found that the traditional culture in the performance resonated with him. “Boy, this just is what we believe in, what they’re saying, the same principles,” he said.
Ms. Amos has been to China and she has seen the impact that the Chinese Communist Party has had on the Chinese people. After attending Shen Yun, she realized that “the Chinese people have had the truth about God and His nature and the eternal nature of man for 5,000 years.”
“It’s very sad to think that people aren’t allowed to believe how they want... But I think that the redeeming part for Shen Yun is that it makes people feel closer to God,” Ms. Amos said.
Mr. Herger agreed, saying, “The truth just jumps out at you. You feel the godliness and the truth from the beginning to the very end.”
UFC star Nick Diaz and model Kayla Ramos saw Shen Yun at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on October 27. The 38-year-old middleweight enjoyed Shen Yun while healing from his last fight.
“It was nice to come here and see the show—it’s really peaceful, has a healing vibe,” he said. He added that he used to see The Nutcracker Suite every year in San Francisco, but found Shen Yun to be a different learning experience.
“My grandfather went to the Great Wall of China, and there are pictures of him there,” Mr. Diaz said. “I always wanted to learn more about that before he passed away, and so I’m trying to learn a lot more about Chinese culture.”
He also felt that the experience nourished his soul.
“I’ve had a really hard lifestyle that comes from really hard training and hard work,” Mr. Diaz said. “So now that I’m older, I’m trying to find more peace in study... I learned a lot tonight and I think it was really good for me to be here.”
Victor Barraza, a real estate agent as well as a member of the board of the Gallo Center for the Arts, saw Shen Yun at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on October 27. He was struck by the depth of the performance.
He appreciated Shen Yun's use of art to tell stories about the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of prisoners of conscience, especially Falun Gong practitioners.
“How else can do you get this message across? This is a great way to get your message out. And we had no idea,” he said.
From the performance, Mr. Barraza could see the impact that communism has had on the Chinese. He became aware that “if they disagree with your religious views, things can happen to you.”
Apart from the atrocity, he also observed the corruption being portrayed. “Money plays such a big role in [the persecution], and how that will translate into ‘You better behave or else,'” he said.
“I’m very happy to see [Shen Yun] convey that. And it’s sad to hear that something like this would never be allowed to be shown and performed [in China],” Mr. Barraza said.
He added that the politics in the United States is currently very divided and that there is a lot of news about China. He recommended that people should know about the side of China that Shen Yun is portraying.
“You may support China in certain ways, but you should also know the other side.
“Look at what China has endured over all this time,” he said. “[There is] still a lot of dancing, a lot of happy times, a lot of hope for the future.”
"It's a remarkable presentation," said Andrew Kaczmarek, a retired Chief Operating Officer for Lydian International. He saw Shen Yun at the Phoenix Orpheum in Phoenix, on October 28.
“You can see so much dedication goes into performing. The colors, the presentation, the backdrop is just very clever. It’s very enjoyable,” he said.
He also spoke about the solo erhu performance, “It’s a unique sound... It’s the first time I’ve heard it. [There’s] a lot of skill involved in playing that instrument.
“I just relaxed and enjoyed it—it was a very pleasant sound,” he said.
“[Shen Yun] gives one cause to think and rethink one’s values, and I think one can see why the communist party is so much against this show,” he said, adding that his own parents and grandparents had suffered under a communist regime.
“The sad thing is that the current regime is... trying to obliterate it. I can see why. [Shen Yun] is contrary to what the communists want,” he added.
Luis Sfeir, a sociology professor, saw Shen Yun again with his wife Maria and daughter. They saw it for the first time last year.
“I enjoyed it even more this time than last time. So we look forward to doing it again,” Mr. Sfeir said.
“I think I was impressed by multiple things... The colors, the music, the way that all the scenes were connected in some way. They flowed very well, one from another.
“In each one of them, you elicit different kinds of emotions. So we felt sad, angry, in danger; we were very happy, with romantic notions of love. So I think the variety of emotions, the variety of colors and dances—and I also put a lot of attention to the dresses that people wore—they were just very well done. Very beautiful,” he said.
Mrs. Sfeir indicated that the performance had deep meaning for her. “This is important to our inner lives. I think we come because we feel very spiritually enriched by the experience: the beauty, the message, the way it’s done,” she said.
Joe Zago, CEO of The Carpet Guys, attended Shen Yun's Detroit performance with his parents, sister, son, and girlfriend on October 30. He saw the show four years ago but found this year’s performance as novel as his first encounter.
“I love it even more now because it has the same message but different scenes,” he said.
“What I really liked about this [year is] it’s more about humanity—just keeping away from the distractions of modernization and being more in tune with God’s creation, the higher powers,” Mr. Zago said.
Shen Yun continues its 2021-2022 tour with upcoming performances in Denver, Colorado, November 6–7; West Palm Beach, Florida, November 8–9; Boston, Massachusetts, November 13–14; and New Brunswick, New Jersey, November 20–21.
For more information on tickets and dates, please visit https://shenyun.com.