Shen Yun: Chinese Arts Should be Part of Western Civilization

Minnesota couple enjoy the visual feast

Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 23, 2013 Last Updated: March 11, 2013
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Katherine Cassavant and Steve Cassavant enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts at Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre on Feb. 22. (Valerie Avore/The Epoch Times)

Katherine Cassavant and Steve Cassavant enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts at Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre on Feb. 22. (Valerie Avore/The Epoch Times)

MINNEAPOLIS—“It was all perfect. I was like ‘Wow! Are these really human beings?” said Katherine Cassavant, amateur actress and singer, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre on Feb. 22. She attended the performance with her husband, Steve, an audio visual designer.

Mrs. Cassavant may be on to something. The dancers may be more than human: New York-based Shen Yun aims to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired dance, principally through the vehicle of classical Chinese dance.

“I really enjoyed watching this. I was constantly looking for something that might go wrong, that might be out of tune or off cue. Nothing ever like that happened,” said Mrs. Cassavant, an administrative assistant at Thompson Reuters, which is a law research company.

“I just think that the influence of the Chinese arts should be a part of Western civilization,” she said.

“It was very pretty to watch, and the precision of all the dancers was incredible,” said Mr. Cassavant.

“Visually, yes, it was spectacular—the colors, when they had the squares of fabric that they were spinning around. It was just kind of a visual feast,” he said of a dance involving the tossing and catching of handkerchiefs.

“I enjoyed it very much,” Mrs. Cassavant said. “In fact, when I first saw that advertisement come out about it, … I said, ‘Oh that looks beautiful.’ I really enjoy watching dance. I admire the effort it takes to maintain and achieve that much perfection.”

Mr. Cassavant enjoyed the digitally animated backdrops, in which figures appearing onscreen seemingly come to life onstage when live performers take over their roles.

“I thought it was a really interesting technique. The timing of it was brilliant,” he said.

Since the pair also sing, they commented on the unique orchestra. “Wonderful, and I love the combination of Western and the Chinese instruments. It worked really well. It’s beautiful, beautiful,” Mrs. Cassavant said.

“I was a little surprised because I had previously thought that there was just Chinese instrumentation,” Mr. Cassavant shared. “I was surprised that there was Western instruments, but the blend was good.”

Mr. Cassavant would recommend the performance to anyone due to “the visual feast of it and the precision. I was very impressed with the colors, the energy.”

“It’s amazing! It’s amazing, very admirable and like I said, I really enjoyed it,” Mrs. Cassavant said.

Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski.

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

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