A family of six attended a Shen Yun performance in Salt Lake City. It was the first time for the couple, their two sons, and their daughters-in-law to see the performance. They were in Iceland the day before and missed their flight. They managed to catch a later one and made it on time to the performance.
“When I first sat down, I actually got a little emotional watching it,” said Shannon Mangum, an artist. “I got a little teary-eyed because just the amount of talent and the precision of the dance and all of the costumes, the colors, the expressions on the faces, the story being told, it was amazing.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, which is said to be inspired by the heavens.
“I love the message of faith and the importance of relying upon divine beings. I mean, that message was abundantly clear and that’s something I believe as well, and so I thought that was a great message,” said Darin Mangum, a lawyer.
“The core religious values that China once had were definitely healing, were definitely a very, very important part of the backbone of China,” said their son, Samuel Mangum, a fine art specialist. “And I think that’s why the country’s been around for thousands of years. It’s because it just had just a strong foothold in its beliefs. And I think that’s very bold and incredible the way that Shen Yun has tried to make that priority.”
The pieces depicting persecution of a spiritual belief caught their attention.
“We often take our freedoms for granted and we have no idea what it is like to be told, you can’t do this or you can’t do that. And to have your family taken away from you, to watch something like that portrayed in dance, it just brought a lot of emotion and made me feel very grateful for my freedoms,” said Shannon.
Much of the ancient culture was lost after the Chinese Communist Party destroyed it through revolution. But Shen Yun’s goal is to bring it back, along with traditional values.
“It has made a statement—that China needs its culture back. It needs its roots back,” said Samuel.
“When I think about how we can treat each other better, to bring about a better life for others, it makes me rise to be a better person. It makes me think about what I value the very most, and trying to help my fellow man live that same way,” said Kelsey Mangum, Samuel’s wife.
“To see all the color and the culture, and to learn about all the different ethnic groups made me feel good that there’s a bright future ahead,” said Christian Mangum, an Army National Guard.
“There’s nothing like it on Earth. It’s an incredible experience,” said Samuel. “I wouldn’t miss it. I’d definitely come back next year.”
NTD News, Utah