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Administrator Calls Shen Yun ‘A wonderful cultural experience’


Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 23, 2013 Last Updated: February 24, 2013
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Mary Ellen Landwehr enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theatre. (Valerie Avore/The Epoch Times)

Mary Ellen Landwehr enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theatre. (Valerie Avore/The Epoch Times)

MINNEAPOLIS—Mary Ellen Landwehr joined the enthusiastic audience Saturday afternoon, Feb. 23, as Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company took to the stage at the Orpheum Theatre for the second of three performances. Deeply moved by the various aspects of the performance, it was, “The beauty of the dancing,” that touched the retired Mayo Clinic administrator.

Ms. Landwehr elaborated, saying, “I think one of the things that really got my attention about going to this is that it seemed to be a wonderful cultural sharing experience—and a chance to learn a lot about China, or at least about their cultural dancing and classical dancing.”

New York-based Shen Yun aims to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired civilization through traditional Chinese song and dance. It not only showcases China’s history but presents the breadth of China by including folk and ethnic dances from the country’s more than 50 ethnicities, according to the company’s website.

Ms. Landwehr was saddened to learn that world-renowned Shen Yun is not allowed to be performed in China, and said, “I saw the performance and thought this would be good for my granddaughter. I thought it would be good as a multi-cultural experience.”

Accompanying the dancers is the Shen Yun New York Orchestra, composed of both Chinese instruments to give the melody, yet supported by the lush sound of a Western orchestra.

She said, “I am so happy that there is the live orchestra, it makes a huge difference.”

Ms. Landwehr explained that she had purchased tickets to Shen Yun as Christmas gifts for her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. “I bought the tickets as a gift for my granddaughter and my daughter-in-law for Christmas. One of the first things my granddaughter asked was, where are the musicians, so I took her up and showed her the orchestra pit, they weren’t there yet, but she really wanted to know where the musicians were, and she saw the gong and I think that makes for a good experience.”

Ms. Landwehr was amazed by the animated hi-tech backdrops, where onscreen figures seem to come to life onstage as their roles are taken over by live performers. She said, “The backdrop and the animation as a result of the backdrop really added another dimension to the performance that I didn’t expect. I expected that there would be dancing and music, but I didn’t expect that kind of multi-dimensional, video performance as well, and that really added to it. Especially the coordination with dancing works really well. I really liked that as well.”

Ms. Landwehr felt aspects of the performance would remain with her. Referring to the opening performance, Descending to the World, which celebrates the beginning of China’s classical culture, she said, “It was especially in the first dance where they did the creation. It felt like a creation from many different points of view. I think the Creation story is global, it’s international. It was also very much alive because of the screen, as well as the dancers, as well as the music, so that’s kind of the multi-dimensional part of it.

Reporting by Valerie Avore and Jeanmarie Lunsford.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org

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