CHICAGO—Rita and Ved Yadava, both physicians, thoroughly enjoyed their experience watching the performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company on the evening of April 23.
“Wonderful. Absolutely dazzling—the costumes are amazing, and just the symmetry and the beauty is wonderful to see,” said Ms. Yadava of the New York-based company at Chicago’s Civic Opera House.
New York-based Shen Yun presents Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled in the five millenia of Chinese civilization, according to its website.
Ms. Yadava felt the animated backdrops were beautiful: “When they have them coming down from the sky, the way they do that and put it inside, and the people just merge into that. That’s beautiful.”
She was referring to animated figures that fly across the sky, but then appear as real figures onstage.
Both enjoyed the classical Chinese dance which Shen Yun showcases.
Mr. Yadava liked the Mongolian piece Herding on the Grasslands. “They were very graceful too—as graceful as the women.”
And Ms. Yadava commented on the athleticism of the dancers. “It’s not just dance, but it’s their agility and they're so amazing as gymnasts—the pieces that they do. So they really embody all the dance forms together, not just expression and dance, but also agility.”
Classical Chinese dance, one of the most expressive dances in the world, is also known for its leaps, spins and turns. In fact, gymnastic and acrobatics originated from this dance form.
Mr. Yadava commented on the overall logistics of the pieces: “I think everybody’s very coordinated. To coordinate 40, 50 people at one time, and they seem to flow … seamlessly from one thing to the other. And then, they’re also very short, so one doesn’t lose interest in that particular piece. If it became very long, you might.”
Each dance was a perfect length, he felt.
Both Yadavas also connected with the stories they saw depicted through dance.
“Some of them are very, I think they are universal. With every culture, they have the same thing—that is always good over evil. And I think that is depicted in this also, and that’s universal in every culture.
“As you know, India is a very spiritual country, and we have the same kind of background, and the same feeling about spirituality and religion that I think Chinese people have too,” Ms. Yadava explained.
Both felt that the modern pieces which depict the persecution of Falun Gong in China were very powerful.
“The Falun Gong piece was the most touching piece, because that seems so real. You know, we see it all the time when we’re walking downtown Chicago. We see the people protesting across the Chinese embassy. So, it really sort of brings it home, even though you’re looking at thousands of years ago, this is so real. You know, it’s still happening at this time. I think that was the most touching part of it. The rest of the beauty is wonderful, but that makes it kind of real.”
Falun Dafa, a practice of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, was first embraced by Chinese authorities, but since 1999 began a systematic campaign to eradicate it.
“It brings it down to reality, what’s really going on in the world right now,” Mr. Yadava agreed.
Both agreed that they would tell their friends to see the show: “Yes, it’s wonderful, it’s worth seeing.” Ms. Yadava said.
“Not too many days left here,” he said.
“I think only one more,” she said.
“Today’s the last?” he asked.
“Tomorrow’s the last,” she answered.
Reporting by Charlie Liu and Sharon Kilarski.