MILWAUKEE—Three generations attend the Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company’s performance at Milwaukee Theatre. It depicted 5,000 years of divinely inspired traditional culture through dance, music, and song.
Gene Bednar, a retired accounting executive in advertising and marketing, his granddaughter, Heather Lueck, and her parents attended the Tuesday evening performance, on Feb. 19. Grandfather and granddaughter shared their experiences after the show. Both found Shen Yun to be amazing.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revitalize traditional Chinese culture through storytelling of legends and myths and current events. But the stories are not told, they are depicted by way of classical Chinese dance, traditional folk and ethnic dance, orchestral music, and vocal soloists.
“I liked it very very much, very, very different,” said Mr. Bednar about the performance. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life. It was really wonderful.”
Traditional Chinese culture with its moral values and beliefs of the divine, has been handed down through the dynasties and different eras. Yet these were almost completely lost due to communist rule in China.
Shen Yun formed outside of China so that it could have the freedom to express traditional culture to audiences worldwide. However, the performance cannot be seen in China.
If China could return to its traditional roots, Mr. Bednar stated that would be beautiful. “I would think that if China, as it is now, would develop into what we saw today, it would be beautiful. It would really be beautiful.”
Traditional Chinese culture believes in the Heavens and a creator which is a surprise to some. “I think that’s beautiful. I didn’t realize that,” said Mr. Bednar.
He saw similarities of spiritual beliefs between Christianity and those of traditional Chinese culture: “That’s what I thought on seeing it. Now I can believe that it is very, very close. The two are very close. As I said, they’re inter-meshed.”
“I believe it. Absolutely. I believe it,” said Mr. Bednar of the dance Divine Mercy where the Creator saves the good when calamity strikes.
Mr. Bednar found the performance very different from Western culture and dance. “It was too amazing, too different for me, really, very different from our culture … and Western dancing,” he said.
“Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does. Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” states the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Bednar found the dancing to be: “Very beautiful, very light and expressive, I would say.”
Ms. Lueck is a university student studying environmental geography and Japanese. She found Shen Yun’s dancing to be amazing and historical: “I thought it was amazing. it was awesome. I liked how elegant it was and it flowed very well. It showed the history of China, which was very cool.”
Reporting by Ying Wan and Cat Rooney.
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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