Airline Pilot Says Shen Yun ‘Encapsulates All the Goodness’

Airline Pilot Says Shen Yun ‘Encapsulates All the Goodness’
Airline pilot Casey Wenum at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Johnny Mercer Theatre, in Savannah, Ga., on Dec. 30, 2023. (NTD)
December 31, 2023

SAVANNAH, Ga.—Shen Yun Performing Arts is back at Georgia’s Johnny Mercer Theatre, and greeted local audience members with their first performance of the 2024 season on Dec. 30.

Casey Wenum, a Southwest Airlines pilot and former Air Force pilot of 22 years, said Shen Yun “is one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s absolutely phenomenal … the production is fantastic,” he said. “I love the costumes … the dancers are perfect [and] the musicians are awesome!”

New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun presents story-based dances depicting heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales spanning 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.

What Mr. Wenum found to be the most impactful about the performance was the passion that Shen Yun’s artists have to restore the spiritual traditions of ancient China.

Over the past decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ruling China has treated spirituality and traditional culture as a threat to its rule. Through campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, traditional beliefs have been destroyed, bringing the age-old culture to the brink of extinction.

Since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006, the company has grown from one to eight equally large companies that tour the world simultaneously. Despite touring the world and performing in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, Shen Yun is still not allowed by the CCP to perform in China. It is only outside of China, through dance, music, and legends, that Shen Yun has sparked a renaissance of Chinese culture.

Mr. Wenum said the whole show “encapsulates all the goodness” and “encompasses all the spirituality and culture” of ancient traditions.

“I appreciate religion and dedication to what you believe in,” he said. “Away from oppression in China … the freedom [the performers] have to express themselves … makes me happy.”

“I’ll come see it again … I just think it’s absolutely awesome!”


Taylor Hayes, a professional event photographer, said Shen Yun evoked fond memories of the few years she spent living in the small town of Zhuji, China.

“I had a magical experience of synchronicity,” she said, “it puts me in tears … those bits of synchronicity … in the show were the most magical moments that I had in China.”

Ms. Hayes said she enjoyed the fluidity of classical Chinese dance and how “they’re dancing through life … doing everything smoothly.”

Differing from ballet, classical Chinese dance uses a continuous flow with circular motions instead of straight lines. With its flips and gentle elegance, it is one of the most athletic and expressive art forms in the world.

Ms. Hayes said she would encourage everyone to see Shen Yun.

“It is part of the world that we don’t know a lot about … we have to remember the cultural significance of 5,000 years of civilization and how beautiful it is and what a tragedy it would be if it was gone.”

Reporting by Frank Xie, NTD and Jennifer Schneider. 

From The Epoch Times