MILWAUKEE—“It was spectacular, breathtaking, the amount of balance and self-discipline and grace that was exhibited on stage this evening. … You can’t put a price tag on it,” said Carlina Jacobson after watching Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company at its first 2014 performance in Milwaukee. Ms. Jacobson saw the classical music and dance performance at the Milwaukee Theatre on March 5 with her mother, Dori Jacobson.
“Beautiful, absolutely amazing,” said Dori, a medical assistant. Carlina does promotional modeling and represents brands like Kohls and Cheveolet.
Carlina had wanted to see Shen Yun for a couple of years. After seeing it, she admired the effort and discipline the performance required. “Just maintaining balance on your own two feet [is difficult], and then to see them doing spins and twists, and the costumes, and I just don’t know the amount of time, of hours and hours, and days and weeks and months that go into preparing for something like this.
”And for the individual to learn is one thing, but for an entire group to choreograph the movements together, it’s really, really something,” she said.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revitalize the true divinely inspired culture of China, a culture dating back 5,000 years.
Of the many story-based dances that depicted the myths and legends of China, Carlita said she learned something. “There’s a lot of traditions and stories that I would never have known or been exposed to or anything.”
This traditional culture, however, has been almost completely destroyed under Chinese communist rule.
Carlina hadn’t known that Shen Yun was banned in China. “I think it’s sad the amount of culture … that’s being kind of squashed. … I am really glad they have an outlet for it in the States—the land of the free, right?” she said.
Dori felt the same way. She wasn’t aware that Shen Yun cannot perform in China either, and she called the entire production “very enlightening.”
“But hopefully, I mean, the ultimate goal would be to return home where it came from,” Carlina said.
Several of the nearly 20 dances that make up the evening’s program depict the current struggle in China of Falun Gong against it persecution at the hands of the Communist regime. Falun Gong (also known and Falun Dafa) practice meditative exercises and live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Because she herself meditates, these particular dances moved Carlita to tears, even after the performance. “Those two particular performances really hit home,” she said, further explaining that Falun Gong teaches “not just self-improvement but self-awareness, and everyone can benefit from that, so it makes a lot of sense that the Chinese regime wants to squash any kind of sort of enlightenment.”
She said that these particular dances affected many in the audience. “I heard them commenting in the halls during intermission that that really did hit them,” she said.
“You have to see it since you can’t record it, or Youtube it; you got to come and see it for yourself,” Carlita said.
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski
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.