Creative Director: Shen Yun ‘A rising sun’

April 16, 2011 Updated: April 16, 2011

CHICAGO—Bill Bartolotta is owner and creative director of Esam, an entertainment company in Chicago. When he saw Shen Yun Performing Arts perform at the Civic Opera House on April 15, he responded like a poet.

“I would like to describe this as a rising sun,” he said.

“Because it’s like a beginning. But it’s been happening for eternity, but it’s also a new beginning.”

Part of Shen Yun's mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture and arts, and Mr. Bartolotta saw that on stage Friday.

“As traditional as it is, it is still fresh and new,” he said.

“No matter how you look at it and how far you reach back into history, even though it has never happened before and it’s only happening now, it’s still fresh and it’s still new and in a new way. We never see the sun rise the same way, but it’s been happening forever.”

Mr. Bartolotta “loved the announcers,” the two bilingual masters of ceremonies who hosted the Shen Yun New York Company performance. Formally dressed, the couple banter in both Chinese and English and introduce each dance, giving cultural context for non-Chinese audience members.

Summing up his impression of the dance movements, Mr. Bartolotta said: “There is an inherent beauty in the classical sense in the way that they move, and it's not contrived and it’s sincere, so it’s easy to feel it. The art is meant to communicate.”

Reporting by Mike Chen and Mary Silver.

Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit