Professor, Correctional Educator: "Thoroughly Experienced the Magic
BUFFALO, New York—“I definitely enjoyed the ShenYun shows of both last year and this year—they are magical,” said Professor Errol Craig Sull after seeing the show at Shea’s Center on Jan. 29.
Prof. Sull is the founder and president of The Correctional Education Company, who devotes his life to helping others through his books, seminars, and public speaking.
He has been a lifelong educator working on many projects which have included writing articles for various national media organizations and serving as an Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Prof. Sull was very happy to share his impressions of the show, and described the awe and gratitude he felt after watching ShenYun this year.
‘Just let the magic entrance you’
“You might never know what secret is to magic. Just let the magic entrance you, and whisk you away to different periods and areas,” Prof. Sull said. “That is what Shen Yun does, it creates magic, and I thoroughly experienced the magic.”
Prof. Sull noted that in the opening of the show, the first thing the audience experiences is “the beautiful pageantry and … the heavenly music, which pull you in.”
“Then the spirit takes over, and you can’t get loose. Even though the pageantry and the music are there throughout the program, what pervades for me and for most people is the overall message, the overall feeling that just grabs you and holds you.”
‘They are true songs’
“The Shen Yun songs interpreted by the singers in the way they sing, it touches your heart, touches your soul, and you have an understanding of the lyrics. You can even feel it before you read it,” Prof. Sull said.
“They are true songs. The lyrics and the emotion of the singer reach out, grab you, touch you, take place and plant themselves inside of you. When you look at the lyrics, it tells you this is what you’re feeling and why you feel it.”
The Message of the Show Stays With You
He said that the closing act of the show, Opening of Heaven’s Gates, gives the audience the feeling of being onstage with the performers. The state-of-the-art animated backdrops “take [the performers] into the heaven, into an area where the stage can’t go, and simply to a higher level.”
Then when the show is over, the message of the show stays with you, Prof. Sull said.
“This was not just entertainment, when the lights went dark and you left, you just say that you had a good time, and you forget about it,” he explained.
“What’s presented here, you have 5,000 years of history that is windowed into your soul and your mind. And in the combination of the pageantry, music, song, lighting, and costumes together, gives you something that you’re going to talk about, feel about, and think about for a long, long, long time."
True Mission of the Arts
“The true mission of arts is to expose and introduce people to the world, to other cultures, and to have people better understand the human spirit and what culture is all about,” Prof. Sull said.
He noted that ShenYun “gives the world a chance to know the true China and its independent spirit.”
“Beyond the wonderful artistry and culture, all of the show tells beautiful stories of the human spirit, of justice, and freedom of independence. It also presents an interesting conflict: It has the very tranquil, peaceful, and beautiful China within the last 5,000 years versus the China today, so you have a presentation of what China should be like, what China was like, and the way of China today which is very oppressive.”
Prof. Sull believes that the larger message conveyed by Shen Yun is “also pervasive on a worldwide basis.” “You can take what happens in Shen Yun and put that in other countries put it all over the world. Therefore, Shen Yun has become a spokesperson not only for China, but really for the rest of the world.”
He added, “Shen Yun does entertain, but entertaining is only the appetizer of what the show offers. The main entrée is the messages it conveyed, such as, what China should be, versus what China is now. And I think seeing and understanding this conflict through the means of culture, through the means of dance, through the means of music and song, is a wonderful way to present it.”
‘Hopes of Chinese people stay alive with ShenYun’
“It’s a message of hope more than anything else,” Prof. Sull said.
In the context of China’s five-millennia-old civilization, he said that “even though there are problems today, the spirit and the excitement and the future hopes of Chinese people stay alive with a program like Shen Yun, with the people in the program, and also simply with the spirit of Chinese people.”
“Please keep on!” Prof. Sull added.
February 11, 2011