PHILADELPHIA—Former Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Jim Murray saw Shen Yun Performing Arts' inaugural show at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Jan. 2.
"It was like the Great Wall was sung, it was spectacular! There are no words to describe it," this man of many 'firsts' declared.
Mr. Murray was the youngest General Manager to ever be appointed in the NFL, and in that role, he took the Eagles to their first Superbowl appearance. He also established the first Ronald McDonald House, now a global network of temporary residences for parents of children hospitalized nearby.
"The scenery was outstanding, but the most beautiful parts were the dancers themselves, not just their ability to dance, but to communicate and talk to each other in dance," he enthused. Mr. Murray's wife is a professional dancer and choreographer.
The Shen Yun performers' intent is to capture the "substance and spirit" of Chinese traditional culture, according to the Shen Yun Touring Company Manager Vina Lee.
"I have a blessing tonight, sharing this beautiful experience, the beauty of China through dance," Mr. Murray added.
He mused that the Shen Yun performances have a message, one that, similar to the history of China, calls for self-reflection.
"Just like our country, we care about our kids, we care about our families, we care about our freedom, so if we can express that through dance, and through the gifts God's given us, then I think we have a right and a duty to share that," he observed.
The performances that compose the Shen Yun production include traditional dance and vocal styles, but also use contemporary settings in China to examine, according to Ms. Lee, the "universal ideals that shaped" China's classical culture.
When asked how he would rate the show, Mr. Murray said quickly, "Superbowl"—doubly significant when you consider that as General Manager of the Eagles, he took the team to one of only two Superbowl appearances in the franchise's history.
"I think it's important for people all over the world to share this experience because, as I said, it's much more than a show. For me it was a prayer, a reflection as a process that says, 'I must know more about a country.' I'd rate it, highest rating ever."
With reporting by Pamela Tsai.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies touring the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform one more show at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, arguably the oldest opera house in the United States and one of the busiest in the world, on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 4:00 pm.
For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org