CHICAGO—Retired Professor Marc Schwertley gave Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company the highest marks, an “excellent,” for the show he saw April 21 at the Civic Opera House.
Professor Schwertley taught humanities and literature at Malcolm X, one of Chicago’s City Colleges, so it’s not surprising that he enjoyed the stories told through dance by New York-based Shen Yun.
Shen Yun brings to life the depth of Chinese culture, over 5,000 years worth of it, through music and dance.
“It's a beautiful extravaganza, expresses 5,000 years of Chinese history. It's a wonderful cultural exchange,” Professor Schwertley said.
“I learned about how some of the various dynasties were expressed and talked about historically, and you could see the evolution of China's culture through many dynasties,” he said.
Shen Yun showcases two kinds of dances, classical Chinese dance and folk or ethnic dances from all over China.
“I especially enjoyed the choreography, the various ethnic stories that were demonstrated through wonderful dance,” Mr. Schwertley said.
“I just like the variety and to see the contrast from the cultural parts of China and how the cultures express through dancing, Mongolia, Manchuria, [and] Tibet,” he shared.
“I also loved the backdrops with the use of cyberspace—the way it all came together, it unfolded—“the series of stories that were connected,” he explained.
Shen Yun uses high tech digital backdrops to help tell the legends and myths of ancient China. Not only does Shen Yun blend the ancient with modern technology, but it is known for its full orchestra which mixes Western instruments with Chinese ones.
“People will notice the kind of influence and integration of both classical music and also the music that is indigenous to China; the different instruments,” Mr. Schwertley said.
The musical aspect is rounded out by solo vocalists.
“I also, not only enjoyed the dancing but also, the beautiful singing by the sopranos and the piano playing” accompanying the singers, he said.
Mr. Schwertley liked the show well enough to do some marketing himself: “ I think just the creativity and the amount of energy that went into the whole performance was wonderful.
I'm definitely going to recommended it to friends. I understand that at the close of the show they are going to come back every year and they also have different stories every year so this will give me an opportunity to see it again and in the meantime I'll tell my friends, family members and associates to get here over this weekend.”
Reporting by SOH Radio Network and Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will continue with shows in Los Angeles at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, April 28-30. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org