Interview With Shen Yun’s Michelle Ren

Interview With Shen Yun’s Michelle Ren

Why ‘Nothing Can Block the Divine Path’ is so touching Being moved to tears while watching Shen Yun Performing Arts perform is a common phenomenon among audiences worldwide. The most poignant of this year’s pieces is the dance “Nothing Can Block the Divine Path.” The dance portrays a heart-wrenching story that is all too common [...]

Why ‘Nothing Can Block the Divine Path’ is so touching
Being moved to tears while watching Shen Yun Performing Arts perform is a common phenomenon among audiences worldwide. The most poignant of this year’s pieces is the dance “Nothing Can Block the Divine Path.”

The dance portrays a heart-wrenching story that is all too common and is an ongoing tragedy in China. A young mother and her small daughter practice Falun Gong, living a happy and peaceful existence.

One day, however, police acting on orders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) come to forcefully apprehend them. When the police move to beat the little girl with batons, the mother throws herself between her daughter and the men. The police then turn on the mother, beating her repeatedly. In one final blow, she collapses to the ground, lifeless.

Suddenly, a clap of thunder is heard, and in the digital backdrop, a flash of lightning splits a building representing police headquarters.

In confusion and fear, the startled policemen flee the scene. In the throes of grief, the little girl embraces her mother for the last time, while divine beings and Buddhas, enveloped in golden light, majestically descend from the heavens.

The mother, who refused to surrender to the evil embodied by the police, is restored to life by the divine beings. In the end, she departs to a divine world of Gods and Buddhas to join the ranks of exalted, enlightened beings.

‘Profound Performance’

Mr. Tang, who is from eastern China’s Jiangxi Province, came from China to visit his relatives in the United States. He said that the show cleared away his misunderstanding about Falun Gong. Crying, he said, “Watching Shen Yun has been my greatest enjoyment and satisfaction. We felt very lucky.

“The dance ‘Nothing Can Block the Divine Path’ is very touching. It shows that Falun Gong positively benefits humanity. We really need to have a correct understanding about Falun Gong now…” Mr. Tang said before becoming overwhelmed with emotion and unable to finish speaking.

Xu Tingjia, a pianist from Yunlin County, Taiwan said, “This is the most profound performance. It touches my heart. Although the performer [Ms. Ren] did not utter a word, I could truly feel the message she yearns to talk about.”

Mr. Kurtesh is a multimedia designer from India. He felt the dance artfully expresses the brutality of the persecution, as well as the strength of the people who persist in upholding their beliefs. He was amazed that the message was conveyed without the slightest tinge of resentment. He said, “Although the story is very sad, it also warms the heart.”

Wang Shufen, a vice director of news for the government of Kaohsiung County, Taiwan, said, “Shen Yun artists show the power of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance through the beauty of their gestures and movements.”

Artistic Inspiration

Living in the free, Western world, Ms. Ren was asked how she could portray the persecution in mainland China so vividly and how she could interpret the indomitable belief of Falun Gong practitioners in China with such depth and sensitivity.

“The most difficult part is to convey the inner spirit of the character,” Ms. Ren said. “Granted, in the beginning it was difficult to feel the intensity of the persecution that is happening in mainland China because after all, I am not living in that environment.”

One day she read an article published on , a Falun Gong website. The article disclosed the story of a female practitioner in China who was illegally detained in prison. In an attempt to persuade her to give up practicing Falun Gong, police beat her with a baton. She remained undaunted in the face of relentless beating, standing up fearlessly for her faith.

Ms. Ren recounted how this female practitioner’s life-threatening situation suddenly became vividly real for her, as if unfolding right before her eyes. She said she felt extremely moved after reading the story and still feels overwhelmed when she recalls it.

“It is so extremely cruel. How can this kind of thing happen in today’s society? I feel it is beyond the imagination!”

Ms. Ren is also a Falun Gong practitioner. Many practitioners who have endured similar experiences under the Chinese regime’s persecution live near her and have told her their own stories. She said she can’t help shedding tears when listening to their accounts. The graphic details become so real to her.

‘The Energy of Their Conviction’

To raise awareness about the brutally inhumane persecution, she was inspired to choreograph the dance “Nothing Can Block the Divine Path” and dances the principal role of the mother.

“Dance is not just for conveying the pain, happiness, or sorrow of the characters, but for revealing more about the moral integrity of Falun Gong practitioners,” she said. “Under such harsh conditions and the difficult environment in mainland China, they still persist in standing up for their faith.”

“Every time I perform this piece, I think deeply about them [Falun Gong practitioners in China] from my heart, and ask how I can make the audience understand.

“The end of the story reveals a genuine truth to people, which is that good is rewarded with good, and evil brings evil returns. People who believe in Gods will ultimately experience good fortune,” she said.

“Fairy of the Clouds” is another dance choreographed by Ms. Ren. Many audience members have commented that while the dance is simple, the energy is very powerful. After seeing the dance, one feels as if the whole body and heart has been purified.

Ms. Ren said, “This is related to the performers’ individual cultivation. A majority of the Shen Yun artists are Falun Gong practitioners. Through cultivation, they have gotten rid of impure thoughts. Their inner purity and compassion is communicated. The audiences will naturally be astounded by the energy of their conviction.”

It has been nearly four years since Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded. Fans around the globe express their amazement at how Shen Yun performances bring them joyful surprises each year.

“There is a saying in Chinese: ‘Undergo severe training and hammering a thousand times.’ Each dance is designed with great care and precision. Every detail, each movement, every artistic concept, and each screen projection are tempered thousands of times and thoroughly tempered. Change after change is made to achieve perfection,” Ms. Ren said.

“Most importantly, Shen Yun performers come together, not for pursuing personal fame or gain, but to revive the traditional and pure divine culture of human beings, bringing it to audiences around the world. With this goal, the heart and state of mind of Shen Yun artists is fundamentally different from that of others.”

Read the original Chinese article.

By Xin Baizheng                Source: DaJiYuan

Performance details:
Venue: San Francisco War Memorial Opera House
Capacity: 16,000 (7 performances)

Tue January 3, 2012 7:30 PM
Wed January 4, 2012 2:00 PM
Thu January 5, 2012 7:30 PM
Fri January 6, 2012 7:30 PM
Sat January 7, 2012 2:00 PM
Sat January 7, 2012 7:30 PM
Sun January 8, 2012 2:00 PM

$220, $200, $180, $150, $110, $80, $70
Other notable venues worldwide:
Lincoln Center David H. Koch Theatre, New York City
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington D.C.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
100+ cities in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania
- China’s 5000-year-old, divinely-bestowed culture in one masterful production.
- 15+ original classical Chinese dance and music programs in each performance.
- Innovative animated digital backdrop.
- 400+ lavish hand-made costumes in each performance spanning 20+ dynasties.
- Presented in both English and Chinese.
- All new production every year.
- Over 100 world’s foremost trained classical artists in each performance
- 3 equally- sized Shen Yun performing companies simultaneously tour the world
- 40-member full live orchestra- world’s first orchestra that successfully brings together Western and Chinese classical music traditions.
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