Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Children of Boston Revel in the Experience of Shen Yun

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BOSTON—In a test-heavy schooling landscape, the richest of educational experiences for young children often come in the form of the arts. On the afternoon of April 2, some wise parents brought their kids to enjoy Shen Yun, a New York-based classical Chinese dance and music experience that explores traditional Chinese culture, a culture that came before the age of communism.

For young audiences, it’s a journey to a faraway and colorful world filled with humor and whimsy. For adults, it offers food for deep thought—Shen Yun touches upon foundational topics of faith, freedom, and the meaning of life.

Rocco Defilippis, an attorney for criminal defense, attended the show with his daughter Francesca.

“It’s a great experience for us because this is the first time I’m taking my daughter to a performance like this, and it’s exciting for her because ever since she was a little girl, she’s really enjoyed Chinese culture, and so now she’s getting to see it unfold before her eyes,” said Mr. Defilippis, who had been aware of Shen Yun for years, but had been waiting for his daughter to be old enough to sit through a performance.

At Francesca’s age, the biggest takeaway she could articulate was that she liked “the pretty dresses.” But the beauty of the dance and music reaches every viewer, no matter their age or background.

“It’s been really pleasant to just watch the color and the movement of the dance unfold,” Mr. Defilippis said. “I’m just finding myself enjoying the moment and it’s very beautiful.”

The name Shen Yun translates as “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” an allusion to the long-held belief that China’s culture was bestowed by the divine—naturally, a respect for gods shows through in the performance.

Mr. Defilippis reflected on this aspect: “I find myself thinking a lot of the similarities between my own understanding of how the modern world has been paying the consequences of ignoring an immaterial world. … There’s something that comes out from behind the material world, and if you don’t believe in that immaterial world, you find that slowly, as the culture ignores the immaterial world, you find that beauty slipping away.”

“It’s very inspirational,” he said.  “And I’m glad that my daughter can see it, because … the beauty will speak to her.”

“The beauty comes from that immaterial space, it’s not something that you can articulate, you have to experience it.”

Adam and Jennifer Desrosiers with their son at the Shen Yun performance in Boston, on April 2, 2022.  (Sally Sun/The Epoch Times)
Adam Desrosiers, art director, and Jennifer Desrosiers, medical office assistant, brought their son to Shen Yun because of an exhortation passed down through generations:

“My grandmother, who is not with us anymore, she always said, when children are in middle school they should go to the theater,” said Mrs. Desrosiers. “And it’s his first year in middle school. We wanted to pick a show that we thought my grandmother would really enjoy.”

It turned out to be a performance all the generations enjoyed.

“It was great!” Mr. Desrosiers said. “I appreciated the movement through time, too. I didn’t expect that. To go from present-day to the ancient past—I liked that variation and what they were addressing.”

The couple met in college, as students at Montserrat College of Art.

The last two years of a pandemic were tough for the arts as shows were canceled due to virus fears.

Mrs. Desrosiers reflected: “I was telling him last night, I said, if you don’t support the arts, they will disappear. We need to do our parts.”

Though Shen Yun expresses the culture of China, those traditions are under attack by the Communist regime. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the culture and awaken the world’s conscience.

“It’s an important mission, especially as we see the rise of totalitarianism not just in China but in other countries, including threatening our own,” Mr. Desrosiers said. “It can be a scary time and we want to see the end of regimes like that; we want to see more freedom to the people to express their culture and to shake off communism and other totalitarian forms of government.”

Reporting by Sherry Dong and Sally Sun.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.

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