CHICAGO—“It’s a real view of Chinese culture and an exciting way to learn about Chinese culture and be entertained at the same time—fantastic, said chief financial officer of Chicago Public Schools, Peter Rogers. He had just seen Shen Yun Performing Arts at Chicago’s Civic Opera House, on April 4.
“I think it’s terrific,” Mr. Rogers said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was formed by a group of leading classical Chinese artists who aim to revive China’s divinely-inspired culture.
Mr. Rogers felt the performance was exciting because “the dancers and the music are so dynamic. It’s really energizing to see what [the culture] is, and then to put it into the context of the cultural experience of learning the history of China is very unique.”
Starting from the myths and legends of China’s creation, Shen Yun leads viewers through 5,000 years of traditional civilization, stopping at different dynasties along the way.
What did Mr. Rogers learn from the performance?
“First of all, I’ve learned or reinforced many things that I already knew: the dance and acrobatics, and gracefulness, and the colors of China are fantastic,” he said.
Classical Chinese dance, at the heart of Shen Yun, combines the athleticism of very challenging technical feats, such as aerial flips, which eventually became known as acrobatics, with the extreme gracefulness portrayed through dancers moving in perfect unison.
“And they carried [it] forward so frequently into modern day life. It’s fantastic,” Mr. Rogers said. Some of the dances, set in modern China, depict stories of courage and resolve.
Mr. Rogers also enjoyed the music he heard. Shen Yun is also known for marrying the classical tradition of Western symphonic sound with the traditional music of China. They travel with an orchestra comprised of both types of instruments.
“Everyone loves Chinese music. It’s so … relaxing to hear and to listen to it. I love it,” Mr. Rogers said.
In speaking of the whole performance, he said, “My daughter loves it as well.”
Mr. Rogers was appointed CFO of Chicago Public Schools two years ago after his position of Chief Executive Officer of Diners Club International.
Reporting by Michelle Chen and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006