My Favorite Part of Tour
When people hear that Shen Yun performs on stages all around the world, visiting more than 150 cities and 20 countries every year, one question that often comes up is, “What’s the best part?”
Is it experiencing all the different cultures? Sampling exotic local cuisine? Or is it the adventure-packed lifestyle—how we’re constantly on the move with our fast-paced tour schedule? Well, I’d say those are all amazing, but what I love most is actually something else.
Don’t get me wrong. I do love traveling to different places and trying new things. And I don’t mind when time differences or busy show schedules add a little extra to our daily challenges—these are the things that fill life with color. But my favorite part of world tour is actually much simpler. In fact, it’s something so subtle that it’s really easy to overlook.
My favorite part of tour is that moment the final curtain falls after a really successful show, when you can let out a deep breath after all the rigor and focus, and feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Usually by that time I am covered with sweat, drained of energy, and absolutely ready to fall into bed. But, that’s also when I am the happiest.
It’s funny, because a quick glance around the now dimly-lit stage will show everyone with makeup that—after two and a half hours of intense dancing—has begun to run and smudge. Hairpieces removed reveal heads of hair rumpled and sticking up. And after gathering for a quick recap of the show, dozens of well-exerted dancers are very ready to change out of their costumes and pack up for the night.
It may not sound like the most impressive scene… but then you see the smiles.
When we do really well during a performance, the whole company feels it. It’s like the energy is so powerful it’s palpable. Each person letting go of themself, cooperating with the performers around them, and remembering that we’re on stage to share the beautiful culture of traditional China with the audience below—when you clear your mind of distracting thoughts and just let yourself be one particle of an incredible undertaking, it’s an incomparable sensation. With a hundred artists working together as one, we can bring the stage to life with sincerity and enthusiasm. And when that energy gets through to the audience, it’s completely captivating.
Years ago, when I first began touring with Shen Yun, I thought that the best parts of tour were break days when we got to run into the waves of sunny Florida beaches or stroll leisurely through sprawling shopping malls. But after maturing a bit and understanding better why we came together to do what we do, I realized what really brought me the most happiness. It wasn’t any special treat I gave myself, but rather what I could do for others. That’s the simple magic that makes happiness so much easier to find.
With another year of tour just beginning, I’m getting back into the rhythm of the performance season again. We might fly south all the way to Argentina or drive way north to wintry Montreal, but I know this tour is sure to be another happy one. Wherever the road takes us, I know that it will be filled with stories to tell and adventures to remember.
There will be sunny skies and rainy days, and new discoveries and bigger challenges, but that’s what makes success all the sweeter. Thinking back, maybe that’s why the hardest parts of tour become the best parts.
January 8, 2019