MADISON, Wis.— "We bought tickets for friends of ours and we all came," said Dennis Maki, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at Overture Hall on Tuesday, May 7.
Mr. Maki, Professor of Infectious Disease and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and his friends were treated to classical Chinese dance and music company, according to Shen Yun's website.
"I think it's wonderful," Mr. Maki said. "I'm very impressed by how athletic … the dancing is. They're very, very, well coordinated and it's just beautiful dancing, and they just have extraordinary leaping capacities," he said.
At the heart of Shen Yun, based in New York, is classical Chinese dance, a very expressive and comprehensive dance form. One of its characteristics is difficult technical elements, such as leaps, spins and aerial flips and tumbling moves.
Also characteristic of classical Chinese dance is "form," hundreds of set movements and poses that comprise the foundation of the dance.
"It's very beautiful. It's really elegant, it's elegant dancing," Mr. Maki said.
"And they do a very good job of telling a story," he said. "I thought that the musical dancing plays are very, very well done. "
Mr. Maki was referring to the expressive quality of classical Chinese dance to tell stories—thus enabling Shen Yun's core mission: to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture that was almost obliterated under Chinese communist rule. Legends, myths and actual history are depicted in mini-dance dramas.
Mr. Maki was struck by the dances depicting repression of people of faith in modern China, and concluded that Shen Yun does not tour in China. He is correct. Shen Yun is not allowed into mainland China, although Shen Yun has played in over 30 countries since it origin in 2006.
"I'm struck that they have three touring companies at the same time. That's quite remarkable," Mr. Maki said.
He was also impressed with the music, mentioning his surprise at seeing a live orchestra, and thought the singers had beautiful voices.
Along with the distinctive dance system and full orchestra, Shen Yun is known for its intricate costumes.
"I think that the costumes are just—they're gorgeous. They're very colorful, and they're beautifully designed," he said.
"And I think that the use of the video in the background is very novel and adds tremendously to the performance. It's quite fascinating," he said.
Reporting by Teresa Yin 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.
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.