SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—“I really appreciate this and the opportunity to see it,” said Carolyn Patterson, director of External Affairs for the Illinois State Museum, after seeing the first half of the performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance and music to the world with the aim of revitalizing traditional Chinese culture.
Ms. Patterson, also director of the Illinois Artisan Program, saw the performance with Bob Waddell, a retired automobile dealer, on April 8.
Based in New York, Shen Yun is performing just the one night in Springfield, before it moves on to Normal, Ill.
Mr. Waddell felt the entire performance was wonderful: “Everything has been outstanding as far as I’m concerned—music, the whole nine yards.”
Ms. Patterson particularly loved the costumes. “I liked the movement of the costumes, and I liked the way they add to the performance because of the fluidity of the costuming and the fabric, I love that fabric,” she said.
According to Shen Yun’s website, “every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes; from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor.”
Complementing the costumes, are digitally animated backdrops, which use the latest in high-tech techniques to allow the stage performers to interact with their environment.
This feature enlivened the performance for Ms. Patterson. Due to the “more modern backdrop … your imagination is able to soar in. You can really grasp what’s going on with the story,” she explained.
She also enjoyed that the legends, myths and history of China were “told in the movement,” and despite the fact that she already knows a bit about traditional Chinese culture, she believes she “learned that they persevere in spite of obstacles, and that there’s a reason for that. There’s something bigger going on.”
Ms. Patterson is referring to the spirituality which sustained the Chinese for millennia. Unfortunately, since the communist regime took control, this traditional spirituality has been undermined.
Two of the dances describe the current persecution of people of faith in China.
“I’m sad for the people that are persecuted, but it makes me feel happy that they’re getting the word out, and I’m happy for the history and so it makes me feel glad that I came,” she said.
“I think Carolyn has said everything. I can say that it’s been a wonderful show,” Mr. Waddell said, adding that he would recommend the performance to family and friends, “by all means.”
“I would say, ‘go and be thrilled by learning something new and also by learning that this is not all there is,” Ms. Patterson added.
Reporting by Cat Rooney 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.