CHICAGO—"It was very, very wonderful, very picturesque, and a lot of color," said Herald Downs. He was referring to the May 10 evening performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at Chicago's Cadillac Palace.
Shen Yun is the world's premier classical Chinese dance and music company. It has three touring companies performing simultaneously in Asia, North America, Europe and Australia for a six month period, which concludes the 2013 tour on May 12.
"I'm very impressed with all the dancing," said the retired treasurer at Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago. "It was very well done."
The mission of Shen Yun is to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture through dance-based storytelling of beloved myths, legends, and ancient and current history.
Each short dance or solo performance begins with the curtain rising on performers in front of an animated digital backdrop. This backdrop not only sets the stage for the story, it even interacts with the performers.
Mr. Downs described the state-of-the-arts backdrops as "Wonderful. The special effects were different [with the dancers] flying off into the screen and all of that. Very, very, well done."
In a portrayal of the classic Journey of the West, the audience met Monkey King and Pigsy and witnessed the redemption of an ogre. Mr. Downs enjoyed this piece: "That was something different. That was really fantastic how that was worked through. I'll have to find out how they did that."
He said, referring again to the animated backdrop.
Mr. Downs enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra as well. "Very nice. It kept things going," he said.
Each of the 20 mini-dramas or ethnic dance is introduced by two emcees in both English and Chinese. "They are very well done. The explanations were good. You could tell what was coming to some extent," Mr. Downs said.
For Mr. Downs the performance was "very colorful and very uplifting. Very bright and cheerful. ... very upbeat."
Mr. Downs thought that Shen Yun cannot be performed in China and he is right.
"Over its past 60 years of rule, the communist regime has treated traditional Chinese values—centered on the idea of harmony between heaven and earth—as a threat to its existence. And in its systematic campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, it has uprooted traditional beliefs and destroyed ancient treasures—bringing traditional 5,000 years of civilization to the brink of extinction," states Shen Yun's website.
Since Shen Yun is based in New York it has the freedom to express this traditional culture outside of China.
Reporting by Teresa Yin and Cat Rooney
Shen Yun Performing Arts is performing at Cadillac Palace Theater, Chicago through May 12.
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.