CHICAGO—Tennessee businessman Keith Leigh and Melody Denny had never seen anything like Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company's window into ancient China's history, staged at the Civic Opera House, on April 16.
Mr. Leigh from Oakridge and Ms. Denny from Nashville came to Chicago for the weekend and seized the opportunity to see the New York-based company's unique performance.
"We have never seen anything quite like this," Mr. Leigh said. "It was most pleasurable, most enjoyable. The music, the dance, the artistry, all of it was fantastic!"
"I totally enjoyed it too; I really enjoyed it," said Ms. Denny.
Shen Yun has a heart to revive the 5,000-year history of China presented in classical Chinese dance and music, according to its website. Dance and musical pieces steeped in rich values enriches the idea that humanity and the divine are intertwined. And it entertains by showcasing artists from renowned ensembles and music schools, and winners of international singing and dance competitions.
Mr. Leigh, whose business involves energy efficient windows for residential homes, said: "Even a businessman needs to enjoy the fine arts. And this is a relief. It’s a pleasure for the mind, just to be able to take it all in, and relax mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and this is a great stress relief.
"It's just beautifully performed tonight. All the artistry and just the dedication of those that we saw perform. I commend them. I applaud them. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
The combination of Shen Yun's unique features, including the exquisitely handmade costumes, hi-tech backdrops, a full orchestra, solo music recitals, expert dancers and vocalists rounded out the evening for Mr. Leigh.
"Because when they are in total, that’s what’s pleasing to the ear and eye simultaneously. It’s just not either/or; there’s not a dichotomy of enjoyment. It’s the combination, and you do it very well, the performers."
Mr. Leigh said the performance "would be well worth the time to invest the hours to come and enjoy a performance like this by this [company]. Absolutely."
Ms. Denny echoed his sentiments. "I really enjoyed the music and the costuming was really good. I just thoroughly enjoyed it."
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org