Shen Yun Gets High Marks from Flight School CEO and Mayor

April 9, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Dennis Cooper
Mayor of Penhold Dennis Cooper and his wife Sherry Cooper took in Shen Yun Performing Arts' Sunday night performance in Calgary. (Mei Li/The Epoch Times)

CALGARY, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts left Dennis and Sherry Cooper with an elevated appreciation of classical Chinese dance after the couple took in the company’s performance at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Sunday night.

Mr. Cooper is the mayor of Penhold, Alberta and CEO of the Sky Wings Aviation Academy, a flight school and charter airline with 11 planes and operations at Okatos and Red Dear airports.

Mr. Cooper said the stories told through the performance were quite moving, particularly The Choice, which tells the tale of a young man and woman who encounter a thief. After the man catches the thief, he is recruited into the police and the pair part ways. The woman later encounters a group of Falun Dafa followers and adopts their practice of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. But when the practice is outlawed in China, she comes face-to-face with her old friend on Tiananmen Square as she tries to defend the others from being beaten by police during a protest. Her old friend forgoes his official duty to protect them.

“I think one of the things is the fact that, that really impresses me, is about they’re not giving up; even though they’re suppressed they came back, and they still are feeling that they’re doing right. … Freedom and faith has to come together, and that’s something that’s very important,” he said.

His wife Sherry Cooper, who works as the flight schools chief flight instructor, was also taken with the performance.

“I’m a musician as well, so when I hear the vocalists hitting some of those notes with the power of their voices, it’s really moving. I feel it all the way through. When he hits that last note, that’s very powerful,” she said.

“I was so surprised, so moved by the songs, and how he hit the notes, it’s just simply amazing to me, to be able to have that control of voice in pitch, it’s just a rarity, and we’re very pleased that we had a chance to hear the performance,” added Mr. Cooper

Shen Yun, which is based in New York, stages performances of mainly classical Chinese dance with the support of a symphony orchestra that includes classical Chinese instruments and melodies. The performance also includes bel canto vocal soloists and a vividly animated digital background.

With reporting by Mei Li

Shen Yun Performing Arts has three equally large companies touring the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company is playing at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary until Monday before continuing on to Edmonton for two shows at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

For more information, visit