Shining Brightly and Naturally at Lincoln
For the past two weeks, my touring group has had the honor of performing at Lincoln Center in New York City.
I’m sure it is every artist’s dream to shine at Lincoln, yet for most of us it seemed like a natural step in our artistic career.
I suppose it’s like how the Chinese proverb goes: Let the course of nature run naturally—what is yours cannot be lost, and what is not yours cannot be gained. When you have put in all that you have with your whole heart, the seeds of your labor will naturally blossom into bountiful fruits. For us, the culmination of our hard work translated into ten solid performances with standing ovations from New York’s higher echelons, many of whom frequent performances by internationally renowned companies.
A highlight of my experience at Lincoln was when we met some of our distinguished audience members during last Tuesday’s reception. It was pleasing to hear that many of them were already longtime Shen Yun fans, as this was their second or third time watching our performances.
One lady spoke of the divine connection that linked all the pieces throughout the program. She said it was as if the divine beings had come down from the universe to transmit the culture of mankind, which is an all-encompassing culture that reminds us of our innate goodness and true calling in life.
Another audience member enjoyed our presentation of modern themes on stage, such as the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa, which flowed smoothly in tandem with the rest of the program. I replied that these issues are as important to China’s history as the stories from times bygone; they raise important questions about our own values and choices in times of unrest and confusion, and this could directly impact our future wellbeing.
A lot of audience members were impressed by the dancers’ expressions and agility, and how they were able to make great leaps and tumbles in the air look as easy as breathing. Many of them were captivated by the dance “Plum Blossom,” where the synchronization of the fans symbolizes blossoming plum flowers amidst the cold and frost. (Just staring out the window right now, I’m sure this dance offered New Yorkers some warmth and hope in the middle of their chilling winter.)
A general feeling I received when speaking with our audience at Lincoln was that they really understood and appreciated the deeper meaning behind the show. Perhaps due to their life experiences, they were able to grasp the intrinsic values embedded in classical Chinese culture and transfer them to their own lives and the world today.
On a closing note, I was quite touched by the David Koch Theatre’s stage crew. They were one of the most pleasant and collaborative crews we’ve worked with so far, and they would attentively watch from the side to quickly offer their assistance when needed.
In turn, they were impressed by our company’s philosophy of everyone working together as one body both on and off stage. After the initial stage setup, they were shocked to discover that some of our performers who had helped during setup went on to shine as singers, dancers, and emcees under the spotlight. Part of the reason is that we are all dedicated in our goal of delivering the very best to our audiences. And especially after touring together for such a long time, we really feel like one big family, so anything that affects the show affects each and every one of us. But I think another part relates to our personal cultivation as artists, and our view that a true artist is willing and able to shine in any role and in any environment.
January 19, 2011