Shen Yun, ‘A Fiesta of Sounds’

January 14, 2015 Updated: January 14, 2015

OMAHA, Neb.—Gary and Cheryl Petersen enjoy ballroom dancing, but they were not prepared for what they experienced on stage Jan. 13 at the Orpheum Theater. They felt entertained, enlightened, uplifted, and awestruck at what they saw—Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company, said Mr. Petersen.

New York-based Shen Yun tours the world with classical Chinese dancers, award-winning vocalists and instrumentals, and a unique live orchestra that combines Western and Chinese instruments.

“The musicality of it was very inspiring,” Mr. Petersen said.

Mrs. Petersen thought the orchestra of Eastern and Western sounds was tremendous.

“I would call it a fiesta of sounds!” Mr. Petersen added.

Before retirement, the Petersens owned a nursery, GP Enterprises, in Nebraska and now live in Iowa. The couple made the trip due to Shen Yun’s reputation from people they knew who had seen it.

“I loved it. I thought it was impressive, and … the costumes I thought were tremendous. I enjoyed the singing, the soloists, and the gal that played the two-stringed instrument,” Mrs. Petersen said, referring to the Chinese erhu.

Mr. Petersen enjoyed the introductory comments by the bilingual emcees to set the history and background of the dances they watched.

Each of the classical Chinese dances depicts a piece of history, a legend or a classic story from China’s rich and long-lived culture.

Mr. Petersen was amazed that the Chinese civilization has been around for thousands of years and still shared through performance today.

He also found the spiritual element of the performance enriching.

I found it very inspirational—the soprano.
— Gary Petersen
“I found it very inspirational, the soprano; I appreciated the words up behind,” he said, referring to the lyrics of the songs. Some of the songs mention the connection between man and god. “That was very inspirational to me.”

Because China is atheistic today and that people cannot follow their faith, where “many millions of people cannot have access to that kind of thought and spirituality,” he called it heartbreaking.

In fact, Shen Yun cannot perform in China, due to the communist regime long term and systematic destruction of traditional beliefs.

As for what he would pass on to others about the performance: “I would highly recommend it for any of our friends and acquaintances. It would be a worthwhile experience.”

Mr. Petersen added that since Shen Yun has four companies touring simultaneously, he would tell his friends in Texas to see the performance.

Reporting by Cat Rooney and Sharon Kilarski

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

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.