KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Ladies night out for veteran realtors Mary Jones and Cherie Gilbert was to attend the evening performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company at Music Hall on May 6. The company has one remaining performance in Kansas City on May 7.
It was an evening of mind blowing colors, dancing, music, and solo vocalists to set the stage for a multidimensional cultural experience.
Coming from a sense of aesthetics developed over 30 years as a design consultant, Ms. Jones said that Shen Yun was “awesome, all the color and everything, and the artistry that they had.”
“It seemed like everything was so well rehearsed, but on top of that, they just really had the stamina to do everything they needed to do tonight. They looked so awesome!” explained Ms. Jones.
Classical Chinese dance is the cornerstone of Shen Yun, and it is demanding of the dancers. It is a complete dance system, according to the Shen Yun website, with training in dance fundamentals, unique movements and postures, including difficult jumping and tumbling techniques.
Ms. Gilbert, with her own 25 years of experience in design, honed in on the artistry too. “Just the color, and it was fabulously choreographed. Pretty amazing stuff,” she said.
Ms. Jones joked that the two of them needed to go shopping tomorrow because they need more color in their lives now.
Even with the elegant, one-of-a-kind costumes, the digitally animated stage backdrops that transported the audience to heavenly realms and far away places, and the incredible dancing, it is authentic culture that is the star attraction.
“As far as their culture, when I travel and when one of my friends takes me to someplace new, I’ve been cultured,” said Ms. Jones. “I felt like I have been cultured tonight. … with all of their beliefs … and how it was so artistically done.”
Ms. Gilbert responded, “It’s wonderful. I think it’s amazing that they are bringing this to us. … We never really thought about it until tonight … This is a whole different culture,” she explained.
“And, no matter what someone believes … there is just the fact that, like it said in one of the songs, you know we are all under the same God. I mean heaven is real for all of us no matter how we feel we need to get there,” said Ms. Jones.
“I feel like a brand new person. There’s another whole world in front of me now.”
At the same performance, Karin and Genevie Selzer, mother and daughter, told of their experiences with the spirituality embedded in the cultural stories.
Ms. Selzer said at intermission, “I love [Shen Yun]. I gave it a 10 so far. It’s comical, beautiful, very visual, and I love the music.”
“We kept thinking we should have called her teacher who would love something like this,” said Ms. Selzer. “…I like that there are scenes for everybody. They are beautiful and I love the colors.”
Genevie, her 8-year old daughter agreed, “I love everything about it” except that she was enjoying the show so much she didn’t want it to stop for intermission.
Audience members have said that Shen Yun’s journey of 5,000 years of culture, told through dance and music is not only very entertaining and educational, but can also be transforming.
“The story of compassion was powerful, very unique, I liked it,” said Ms. Selzer. “Then when they came with an altercation that turned him into a believer, we loved that,” she said.
She was referring to the dance, The Power of Compassion, in which peaceful people who are meditating are attacked by a policeman who slips and gets injured. The people stop fleeing and return to help the policeman, which leads to unexpected blessings, says the program book.
Ms. Selzer said she liked the spirituality of the culture. “I think it’s important and could appeal to everybody—compassion, believing in heaven, and that we are all the same, sent from heaven, and we should be kind to each other,” she said.
“It feels great,” was Ms. Selzer’s take away from the performance. “It just made me feel good, whole, a little holy, excited,” she said.
Genevie responded to the spiritual message as well: “I feel like a brand new person. There’s another whole world in front of me now.”
Reporting by Cat Rooney and Stacey Chen
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.