Closed Doors and An Empty Theater
May 6, Seoul, Korea—Rather chilly outside, but it’s alright, because we are finally performing in Seoul’s renowned KBS theater! Dance class, done; sound check, done; all departments ready to go. It’s nearing 7pm, and the audience is out in the lobby waiting to fill up the seats. Makeup, costumes, dance shoes, smile? Check, check, check, double-check. It’s just the curtain separating us from the next four shows and the 8,000 people whose lives we are about to touch.
If the world were perfect, today’s schedule would have been like that. But, reality can be quite cold. Instead, here we are in Seoul, stuck in the hotel, with thirty dancers trying to make the most out of a small fitness room. The orchestra is confined to one floor, noiselessly practicing their instruments, air-bowing and fingering, terribly ready to share the beauty of art, but silent as to not disturb the other guests.
Meanwhile, the KBS theater is empty and unused for the bustling weekend and has let down thousands of patrons in the process. Meanwhile, our schedule after months on tour came to a screeching halt.
My greatest sadness, however, goes out to the people of Seoul who were supposed to watch our show. I hear some people took planes, trains, and hours of travel. Some booked hotels, canceled meetings, requested holidays. Many even flew in from China. Even if each audience member received a refund, there are some things that money just can’t replace.
Our performance brings back to life five thousand years of traditional Chinese culture, but beyond that, it brings hope. “They have to come [watch Shen Yun]. They must come. It will change their life.” “They travel all around the country to spread love. It’s awesome.” That's what people say after seeing our performance. So isn’t canceling the shows equivalent to robbing the people of Seoul an experience of a lifetime?
But despite the bleak events that led to today, I still have hope for the future. I do believe that this universe is ultimately just, and I believe one day Shen Yun will perform in the Seoul's KBS theater. Maybe not today or tomorrow or the next day. Maybe next year. Whenever it is, I feel it will be soon. And maybe, just maybe, after we perform at KBS, we will finally perform in China, too.
May 6, 2016