Shen Yun’s ‘A Great Cultural Display,’ Says Cultural Exchange Company Exec

By Epoch Times Staff On February 10, 2013 @ 7:44 pm In Special Section | No Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio—As the executive director of an international cultural exchange organization, Mark Poeppelman is passionate about world cultures. This passion led him to Ohio Theatre on Sunday, for Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.

“I’ve seen many, many shows in my life, but never one quite like this,” said Mr. Poeppelman after the Feb. 10 matinee performance.

Mr. Poeppelman is the executive director of the Columbus International Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting international understanding through intercultural exchange. He is also the owner of LMP Investors, LLC, and investment management firm.

“[Shen Yun] was amazing, it was a great cultural display,” he said. “The choreography, the costumes, everything was so well-timed and so well done, and there were stories and culture that were shared too,” he said.

New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by overseas Chinese artists who wished to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, through classical Chinese art forms.

Along with story-based classical Chinese dance, the performance also features folk dance hailing from China’s multi-facted ethnic regions and geography.

“The whole [5,000] years, every single one of the scenes had a cultural story to share, and I really enjoyed it,” Mr. Poeppelman said.

According to the Shen Yun website, China’s divinely inspired culture, originated from the three ideological pillars of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, thrived for thousands of years in the country. This culture was virtually destroyed, however, during decades of violent campaigns waged by the Chinese communist party.

Mr. Poeppelman was deeply touched by the traditional values and beliefs that were expressed through the dance, saying it is a forgotten piece of Chinese culture and history.

“I loved the spiritual part of the story—for 5,000 years China has been a very spiritual place and believed in a divine creator,” he said. “I loved it that part was shared with all of us today as well because as Americans we don’t hear those kinds of things from mainland China.”

The traditional values such as tolerance, honesty, and righteousness are universal, he added, and can benefit all cultures, including Western societies.

“Americans have so much to learn about China and the culture. We know some things but there’s so much that we don’t know, and it was great to learn a little bit today,” he said.

He was also impressed by Shen Yun’s dynamic production elements including digitally-animated backdrops, and hundreds of handmade costumes and props.

“So many things stand out, but the costumes were absolutely amazing. The way they used their sleeves, and the entire costume as part of the show was amazing,” he said, adding the interplay between the dancers and the digital backdrop was flawless.

“The way it was choreographed, the way the images came from the screen and then they appeared in real life, I mean all that was executed so perfectly. The choreography they had it was timed so well, I kept looking for a mistake and I never saw one.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale.

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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