The Waterhouse family first saw Shen Yun two years ago. They loved it so much, they decided to make it an annual family tradition. This year, they saw a performance in Salt Lake City on Aug. 7.
“You can just feel that they put their souls into it and that they really have a message to share with everyone. And we really appreciate especially the bravery that they have with the particular message that they have, coming from an oppressed country and trying to maintain their belief system,” said Jeff Waterhouse, an orthodontist.
“We felt a strong spirit when we came. We really have some of the same beliefs as the Shen Yun mission. We feel like they’re on a mission to let people know what’s going on. And we really have compassion for these people. And they are very brave,” said Jennifer Waterhouse, Jeff’s wife.
“The show [has] really changed my life,” said Andrew Waterhouse, 15. “Since I’ve always been really interested in the traditional Chinese culture, and then when we finally came to see the show two years ago, I was hooked. Because the way that the director puts these things together, the music and the dance, it just drew me in.”
“I could really appreciate more what these people are trying to do, the message that they’re trying to spread throughout the world, that preserving religious freedom and traditional values, it’s so important,” said Ryan Waterhouse, 18.
Shen Yun cannot be seen in China, which is under communist rule. But in other countries, Shen Yun’s mission to revive an ancient culture is leaving audiences in awe.
“I love the way that it’s a story of hope,” said Gordon Whitehead, founder of Leaders247.com. “And [a story] of faith and connectedness, and kind of the universe being, everybody being important.”
“I would say that it’s a life-changing experience. It makes you become introspective, and think about your own personal values and the way you need to stand up for what is right,” said Diane Whitehead, Gordon’s wife.
Those with spiritual beliefs, like Falun Dafa, are not allowed in China. Shen Yun portrays the persecution of the practice in some of its pieces, which is also why the troupe cannot perform in China.
“To teach the world about what you are overcoming, against communist China, that you are fighting to keep your culture alive and the values and morals that make … the Chinese people strong, which in turn, bless the rest of the world, the same values we should all have,” added Diane.
“Like it says in one of the songs there, understanding our past can really help us in the present,” said Bryson Duncan, a marketing manager. “I think that really brings a lot to the modern, our modern times where it’s very difficult to know what to hold on to in terms of truth and anchor ourselves to understand what’s good and what’s bad. And so, I think art like this really helps us reflect on what’s important and where we can go for inspiration.”
NTD News, Salt Lake City, Utah