Arts Patron Says of Shen Yun: ‘I have never seen anything like this before’

March 14, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS—Rosemary and Gene Tanner are well-acquainted with culture and beauty, and so their lavish appreciation for Shen Yun Performing Arts shouldn’t be surprising. The couple saw the performance at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University on Tuesday evening, March 13.

“Not only is the dancing spectacular, the costuming, the music, the rhythms,” said Mrs. Tanner of the New York-based company, but she especially enjoyed the staging.

Shen Yun specializes in bringing 5,000 years of divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture to the stage. It’s means are classical Chinese dance, original orchestral music, and award-winning solo vocalists.

Mr. Tanner is a investment broker, and the couple is known for funding a restoration of the historic orchard at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In fact, Mrs. Tanner volunteers as a docent at the museum, and is familiar with Chinese art.

“I am familiar with a lot of what is going on and what has gone on in Chinese art and Chinese history, too,” she said, although she did not claim to be an authority.

In referring to the staging, Mrs. Tanner especially enjoyed the digital animation used in the projected backdrops to coordinate action on the screen with that of the performers onstage.
A figure “magically appears in the screen and then the people come alive. I just think that’s fantastic, I have never seen anything like this before.”

Mrs. Tanner was also impressed with a dance depicting modern China. The piece, The Choice shows the persecution of Falun Gong in China, in which adherents of the spiritual discipline are beaten by police in Tiananmen Square. Mrs. Tanner happened to have been at Tiananmen Square right after the repression of students in 1989. The piece hit home for her.

“So that was pretty poignant, … they did a wonderful job!” she said.

Precision Work is Outstanding

According to Terry Johnson, former president of Fisher’s Rotary Club, Shen Yun was a beautiful display of Chinese culture.

“I think the precision work is outstanding and the costumes are absolutely beautiful,” he said.

“Anybody who has served or lived in the Far East would be very much interested in this,” added Johnson. ” “Whether it was Korea or Vietnam, or wherever. I had a lot of interface with Asians and I enjoyed it, wonderful!”

Johnson had previously served in the U.S. military during the Korean War, but these days he’s involved in the rotary club, giving his time to mentoring high school students. Johnson purchased his tickets to the Shen Yun performance months in advance, and has been looking forward to it ever since.

“I just really wanted to come to see this because it looked so good, he said.

Johnson added that, for him, the best aspect of the show was the exquisite portrayal of ancient Chinese culture “the way it has been for thousands of years.”

“I’m sorry a program like this could not be put on in China, I think the Chinese people would love to see it,” Johnson exclaimed.

Reporting by Su Yue and Sharon Kilarski.

Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo for two performances on March 17 and 18.

For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.