Illustrator and Winemaker Find History and Magic in Shen Yun

January 25, 2014

WASHINGTON—Julie and Martin Doerschlag, an illustrator and vineyard owner respectively, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center on Jan. 24.

They sat about four rows from the front, and as such had an opportunity to see the details of the dance movements by performers.

“I’m a big ballet fan. I’ve seen Russian ballet, American ballet,” said Mrs. Doerschlag, commenting on the the classical Chinese dance exhibited in Shen Yun. “I liked it.”

“The athleticism is beautiful, the choreography is spot on. I love the colors, and the costumes are amazing. It’s unusual because I’m not used to this style of dance. They don’t have the traditional man-woman dance, the crescendo, those single dances as in ballet — they do a lot of group dancing, which is beautiful visually.”

Mrs. Doerschlag is an illustrator, and used to work as an interior designer.

Regarding the animated digital backdrop used in Shen Yun’s performances, she said: “It’s very interesting. … That’s another new thing, and I applaud them for doing it. People don’t do enough new things. To move forward you have to try new things. I liked it.”

Perhaps in reference to the occasional amusing asides by the emcees, or to situations presented in the dances in Shen Yun, she added: “They’re humorous. They’ve got a humorous style.”

Mr. Doerschlag used to be the chief executive officer of an architecture firm, and now is a vineyard owner and a winemaker. He made a noted purchase of a wine-growing estate in Oregon last year.

“It’s got a magical quality to it,” Mr. Doerschlag said of Shen Yun. “I love the story.”

He continued: “I didn’t know what to expect. The way it incorporates the dance and telling of stories is unique and important and adds a level of interest to it. You feel like it’s a historical story being told in dance. It’s really interesting.”

Shen Yun gave him “a sense of history, and a sense of the different cultures within China,” Mr. Doerschlag said.

He remarked that China is on everyone’s lips these days—including in the wine community—and that the Shen Yun performance “takes a little bit of mystery out of China, bringing you into what happened there, many many miles away.”

Mr. Doerschlag added that, given he is a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology, the legends and mythic tales portrayed in dance, music, and digital animation in Shen Yun resonated with him.

Reporting by Wardner B. Schell

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

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.