EVANSVILLE, Ind.—Mike Connelly and his wife, Angie, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at Evansville’s Aiken Theatre.
“My wife brought me,” said Mr. Connelly, the Evansville Fire Chief. She did so due to her enjoyment of theater and them sharing it together. They both were impressed with what they experienced.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 year of divinely inspired civilization and its virtues through the performing arts.
“These dancers and performers take very seriously what they do, carrying the tradition of China around the world so that they can share it with people who don’t know about it,” said Mr. Connelly. “The impact that it had on me was—obviously I don’t understand all of the traditions from China that they are presenting—but I was very impressed.”
The heart of Shen Yun is dance, classical Chinese dance, with its own training in basic skills, physical expression, and postures, leaps, flips, spins and other difficult tumbling techniques. Together these form an extensive and independent dance system.
Classical Chinese dance predates gymnastics.
“I really enjoyed the dancing; it was very beautiful,” said. Mrs. Connelly. “It was very interesting to learn that different art forms like gymnastics came actually from Chinese dance.”
Shen Yun’s dancing exceeded Mrs. Connelly’s expectations. “I would say it exceeds [expectations] because of all the work is in unison … So, it was very different. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”
Each of the mini-dance dramas and soloists are introduced in both English and Chinese by two bi-lingual emcees.
“I was grateful for the introduction for each segment so we could keep up with the transition through time of the 5,000 years of history in China,” Mr. Connelly said.
Both Connellys learned more about traditional Chinese culture through Shen Yun.
“I also really enjoyed the parallel, seeing the lyrics to the music,” Mrs. Connelly said. She was interested to see “a lot of our traditional beliefs in the goodness of people and heaven. I wasn’t exposed to any Chinese culture before or their beliefs.”
Mr. Connelly agreed, “I appreciated the lyrics so that we would be able to understand the Chinese language as they were singing.”
For Mrs. Connelly, she would recommend the performance specifically to her sisters and daughter. “Women probably appreciate the art forms like this, my daughters actually.”
Since her daughter is interested in gymnastics and loves music, she believed that her daughter would “love the fans and the sleeves [of the dancers], and the rhythmic part of the show. I know she would really enjoy that.”
If Mr. Connelly were to sum up Shen Yun to family and friends, it would be “entertaining and educational.”
Mrs. Connelly agreed!
Reporting by Sound of Hope and Cat Rooney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. 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.