Shen Yun, ‘Fascinating cultural experience!’ Says Theater and Opera Director

April 21, 2011 Updated: April 22, 2011

CHICAGO—Director Michael Unger was amazed by the artistry and depth of classical Chinese culture presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company. He and his wife, actress Janet Metz attended Thursday evening’s performance, April 21, as the world renowned show graced the stage at the Civic Opera House.

He felt seeing Shen Yun enriched his knowledge of classical China, and said, “I thought it was a fascinating cultural experience, you know, learning about a culture I don't know very much about, so I thought it was very educational. The dancers were incredibly skilled, very together, and tight. They are extremely talented.”

Director of both stage and opera, Mr. Unger has also appeared in numerous Broadway productions and works with both Hollywood and television productions.

He added that he was impressed by Shen Yun’s orchestra, a unique blend of classical Western and Chinese instruments, and said, “The orchestra was beautiful and it was so nice to hear the unique instruments that come with Chinese culture only. Actually I wish I could have seen the instruments rather than just hear them. I would have loved to have seen what the instruments looked like that I am not accustomed to.”

His wife, actress Janet Metz agreed, and said “I thought it was very beautiful and educational and I especially enjoyed, I think it was called Harvest Joy."

A favorite at harvest time, the upbeat dance celebrates a bountiful harvest. The Yang Ge dance style used in this number has been popular in northwest China for over a thousand years.

"I just loved the acrobatic nature of that number and their energy and I thought the costuming was beautiful and their use of projections was very creative as well," Ms. Metz continued.

The acrobatic turns, spins and leaps are actually all part of classical Chinese dance. They are not added elements to the dance, but, in fact, where these moves originally come from.

Accompanying them were their children. Nathaniel said that he enjoyed the performance, The Monkey King Outwits Pigsy, while ballet dancer daughter Phoebe said she was touched by the performance, Our Story, which touched upon contemporary issues unfolding in China today.

Ms. Metz summed up her experience by saying, “I thought it was very beautiful, and educational. I thought it was very creative, colorful, and interesting!”

Reporting by SOH Radio and Jeanmarie Lunsford.

Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org