DETROIT—Ray Swetman, vice-president and regional director of Delphi Products and Service Solutions, very much enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Detroit Opera House when he and his wife, Bonnie, attended the classical Chinese dance company’s second show in the Motor City this season on Feb. 7.
“It was fabulous,” Mr. Swetman said. “The artistry was just amazing. …. The stories were fascinating and the artists just did a wonderful job portraying the story and really bring it to life.”
“I think it was wonderful. It was just beautiful, a real opportunity to learn about not only the classical Chinese dance, but all the costuming and everything was just really beautiful,” said Ms. Swetman.
Mr. Swetman complimented the performers for the high caliber of their skill.
“I think their skill level is fabulous. They’re extremely talented and very skillful. It’s amazing how they can move so elegantly and it doesn’t even look like they’re moving their feet. It’s really fascinating,” he said.
“The dancers were incredible. You could tell they’re very good artists,” Ms. Swetman agreed.
“You could tell there was a lot of time and effort put into the dancing and the synchronization and the timing. It was very, very well done. … You could see there was a lot of time spent to make sure that the footwork and all the dance was done as classical Chinese dance is supposed to be done,” added Ms. Swetman.
“I learned a lot,” she said.
Besides presenting a dynamically impressive display of physical agility and grace within movement, Shen Yun depicted some stunning visuals that impressed the Swetmans as well.
“The costuming was wonderful. The colors were just very vibrant,” Mr. Swetman said.
He especially praised a piece titled Lotuses in Bloom, in which female dancers holding long silken fans glided across the stage like celestial fairies.
“When it opened up in the fog it was just really something. I didn’t know quite what it was for a few seconds until I figured out it was actually ladies with those fans. It was quite amazing. It was quite fun,” said Mr. Swetman.
Beyond the sensory beauty, the Swetmans were touched by the deeper themes conveyed by the performances. They included principles such as compassion and justice, propriety and wisdom, and respect for the divine that are at the heart of traditional Chinese culture and that have nearly all been lost under decades of communist rule in mainland China.
Included in the program are story-based dances about the peaceful resistance displayed by practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice in the face of persecution by the Chinese regime.
“It really delivered a wonderful message!” Mr. Swetman said.
“All of the messages left you with a very positive feeling—that there is hope, there is a positive outcome to no matter what happens. It’s very interesting, very interesting. The music was wonderful as well. The artists were just great.”
Ms. Swetman agreed.
“I think there was a very good message in all the dancing. … I really got a sense of hope and positiveness in each one of the dances they brought, so it was very enjoyable,” she said.
Ms. Swetman was also highly impressed by Shen Yun’s musical talent.
“Very, very talented. Wow!” she said, highlighting in particular the solo performance on the two-stringed erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument that has been called the Chinese violin.
“The two-stringed [erhu], that was just phenomenal. It was really neat that we got the opportunity to see something like that,” Ms. Swetman said.
“It was quite amazing,” her husband agreed.
Mr. Swetman commented on Shen Yun’s mission to revive the true traditional Chinese culture.
“I think this is wonderful. It really is wonderful and it’s a shame that the Chinese government doesn’t really embrace this because it is such a fascinating culture. It’s amazing history, and it’s outstanding that this show can bring that to life.”
He came away from Shen Yun with uplifted feelings.
“It gave me a wonderful appreciation for the freedom we have and how we’re allowed to do things that other countries are not allowed to,” Mr. Swetman said.
“We’re able to support an activity like this wonderful artistic form, and here in the United States we can support that and allow that culture to be displayed and the stories to be told. It’s wonderful,” he added.
“It was our first time to see it so we look forward to their return visits the next time they come,” said Ms. Swetman.
“I really appreciated all the things I learned about the Chinese classical dance. I came away very optimistic and very hopeful and very much look forward to seeing next year’s performances.”
With reporting by NTD Television and Andrew Darin
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.