Retired English Professor: ‘Never Seen Anything Like This Before’

January 8, 2014 Updated: January 8, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Guy Papenhausen travelled back in time to a place he had never seen the likes of before—5,000 years of China’s divine culture, of dynasties and regions where myths and legends and literary classics came to life.

The retired English professor of Rock Valley College, Illinois, saw Shen Yun Performing Arts for the first time at the Tennessee Theatre on Jan. 7. He joked that he would teach his mate, Gail Cox, to walk the proper way, like a classical Chinese dancer. “Oh good,” she said.

“The show, oh gosh, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.

A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization, the Shen Yun website reads.

Mr. Papenhausen was particularly captivated by the “spectacular costumes,” he said.

Hundreds of gorgeous, hand-made garments of brilliant hue spanning China’s dynasties, regions, and ethnic groups from imperial dragon robes and cloud capes, to the attire of the Manchurian, Tibetan, Dai, Mongol, and Uyghur ethnic groups.

Rich with expressive power, classical Chinese dance is at the heart of Shen Yun designed to reawaken the five millennia culture, almost lost under communism rule.

The leaps and flips of aerial masters, thunderous battle drums, and singers soaring voices are all set to transport its audience to other worlds, the Shen Yun brochure reads.

“I like the men, I like the women; the men especially,” Mr. Papenhausen said.

He also found the music and the drums appealing, he said.

The Shen Yun Orchestra combines a Western philharmonic orchestra playing the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies. The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.

Reporting by Mary Silver and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

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.