Audience: Shen Yun Gives Hope, Feeds the Soul


Audiences in Houston could not get enough of classical Chinese dance performances by Shen Yun, the performing arts company adding another show to the original six. Culture enthusiasts Barbara and Winston Elliot left the show in awe.

“I thought they were spectacular. First of all, the athleticism is just really—I mean, I know how hard it is to do some of the things that they did. … I’m in awe of just the technical brilliance. But they express an inner beauty as well, an inner light—the inner masculinity, you know, when the men are there, and the femininity in the women—but also an indomitability,” said Barbara J. Elliott, president of the Center for Cultural Renewal and assistant professor of liberal arts at the Honors College.

Winston Elliott, president of the Free Enterprise Institute, said, “It’s beautiful, lovely. There’s the energy of the jumps and leaps and tumbles, but there’s also the subtle beauty and soft movement and color, that adds so much. The combination is marvelous.”

Shen Yun draws inspiration from China’s 5,000 years of civilization, including virtues that have been passed down through culture.

“I wish there were a lot more like them in every culture that exists on the face of the earth. I take in that history and I am richer for claiming that part of heritage. That is part of the human race we all share. But it behooves it. I really love the fact that the past and tradition are honored here and genuinely honored,” added Barbara J. Elliott.

Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture, including spirituality and faith. The Chinese communist regime sees it as a threat.

Barbara J. Elliott, who was a Cold War reporter in Germany, said, “I really particularly enjoyed the direct anti-communist poke, their stories that I know very well in China’s history—that kind of brutal violence, that kind of terrorizing people, that kind of enforcement—I know that. I know it in my bones from the years that I spent basically with them and learning about them. So that part of the show really resonates with me, too, in a unique way.”

Winston Elliott said that the show is “very inspirational and hopeful, which is not a word we use very much today. … There seems to be a shortage of hope. So today, in this performance, there was much hope and that is great.”

“I would say that it is soul-filling and eye-popping. And it’s an overwhelming of the senses, but also of the heart. It fills the heart,” Barbara J. Elliott added.

And for those interested, Winston Elliott says that “they should definitely come and experience it themselves … take in all the color and sound and movement that combines to both edify them—the eye and the ear—but also the spirit, and that’s wonderful.”

Shen Yun is performing all over the country for the rest of the year and into next year. Their next stop is Seattle, Washington.

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