CHICAGO—"The costumes in all the pieces and the scenery was beautiful, and it was playful," said Charlene Breedlove. "Very charming!" said Elliot Fineman, of National Gun Victims Action Council director, a non-profit group. Both were referring to the May 10 evening performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at Chicago's Cadillac Palace.
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.
"It was just very warm, very friendly, very playful," said Ms. Breedlove, a professional editor for a medical journal and other projects.
"I felt warm because it's a very friendly, benign, sweet-hearted [performance]. It's all good intentions, it's playful. ... You know it's all about trying to make good forces, trying to be good, trying to overcome evil," she said.
"It told interesting stories, little folk tales, and lessons from life in the past," Ms. Breedlove explained.
Traditional Chinese culture was almost completely destroyed under the 60-plus years of rule by the Chinese Communist Party. Thus, Shen Yun was formed by a group of artists dedicated to restoring ancient culture.
Since Shen Yun is based in New York, it thereby has the freedom to express this culture. But, unfortunately the performance cannot be seen in China.
Part of China's unfolding history today is the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that live by the tenants of truth, compassion, and tolerance.
"I liked it very much because I support the [Falun Gong] group, and I support the group that this was representing. And I feel badly that ... they're treated so badly," Mr. Fineman said.
He explained why he sympathizes with Falun Gong practitioners: "Just by seeing them in Chicago. They sit on streets for a long time, you know, with peaceful messages, and … I've read about them."
For Ms. Breedlove, the last piece stood out: "The finale, where everybody's free. … So you kind of know more of who they are [because of the previous dance story], and so they're free to kind of express themselves through their own movements. So it's nice to see them as one expressive group."
Her understanding from Shen Yun was of hope. "It's more the hope that things will get better." She explained that the wheel turns, in the first half [of the performance with the Creator descending] and the last scene according to the program guide is where the Creator protects the righteous and goodness.
"The idea that bad will pass and good will come back," says Ms. Breedlove.
Reporting by Stacey Tang and Cat Rooney
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.
Shen Yun Performing Arts' last scheduled performances for this season are in Chicago on May 10-12 and Syracuse, May 12.