KANSAS CITY, Mo.—With nary an empty seat to be found, Brian and Chrys Sullivan were among the enthusiastic crowd at Kansas City’s Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Responding with loud applause for the vocal soloists and standout moments during the dances, the audience was pleased with the world-famous Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of divinely-inspired civilization, according to the company’s website.
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, vocalists—together creating an experience that’s leaving millions in awe,” the website continues.
“I would describe it as a vision of Chinese folk culture and art,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Mrs. Sullivan owns Useagility, a full-service user experience consulting firm, and Mr. Sullivan is vice president of a financial company.
Shen Yun has many short dance pieces with tremendous variety. Mr. Sullivan enjoyed the humor in some of the dances, especially When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor. It has a scene in which a monk chases a rabbit in the hopes of a good dinner—despite the fact that monks should not eat meat.
Several of the story-based dances tell of modern China, including the persecution of the meditation practice Falun Gong in China. The persecution is part of the Chinese regime’s destruction of Chinese culture, which spurred Shen Yun’s creation.
Mr. Sullivan appreciated the effort that Shen Yun took to tell this story and to represent ancient Chinese culture.
“I’m glad to see that there is a group worldwide that is really promoting the historical culture and into the historical religion of China,” she said.
Along with its core of classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form nearly as ancient as the culture itself, Shen Yun presents some ethnic and folk dances from the 55 ethnic minority groups in China.
“The various regions of China that are represented—I like that part of it too,” said Mr. Sullivan.
The couple attended because their daughter is from China. They also visited in 2008.
Mr. Sullivan enjoyed the color and movement in the Tibetan dance. Mrs. Sullivan particularly appreciated the gestures and balancing in the Mongolian Bowl Dance.
Both agreed that this was a treat for their whole family. Because the performance had a good mix of types of dances, and lots to see, their two boys enjoyed it, too.
“Our kids don’t see too many performances, and they weren’t sure they were going to like it today—all really did,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Reporting by Xiao Ding and Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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