NEW YORK—Former Kansas City Chiefs’ CEO Carl Peterson—known to some as “King Carl”—did not anticipate an afternoon learning about 5,000 years of Chinese civilization until Saturday, Jan. 17.
His wife Lori Peterson had been researching Shen Yun Performing Arts all week, and told him “we’ve got to go see this.”
“I’m glad we did,” Mr. Peterson said during intermission at Lincoln Center. “[It’s] not just good, but fabulous. The colors, the choreography, the dancing, the movement. You’ve got great athletes.”
And the couple has years of experience with athletes. Mr. Peterson led the Chiefs for 20 seasons, one of the longest tenures in modern NFL history. Mrs. Peterson is a senior architect and designs sports facilities with Populous Sports Architecture.
New York-based Shen Yun revives the divinely inspired Chinese culture through traditional Chinese dance, bel-canto solo vocalists, an orchestra blending East and West music systems, and an animated backdrop.
“We said to each other, you don’t hear them touch the floor—you hear nothing,” Mrs. Peterson said. “They do these amazing feats, and you hear nothing.”
Classical Chinese dance is a vast and independent system of dance built on 5,000 years of Chinese history, with its own set of movements, postures, and training. It includes many difficult flips, jumps, and tumbling techniques. As the emcees explained, sports like gymnastics and acrobatics actually originated from classical Chinese dance.
“It was just exhilarating,” he added.
Mr. Peterson was struck by the scale of the production, and particularly the usage of the animated backdrop. Performers were seemingly jumping in and out of the screen—and in and out of the sky.
Shen Yun’s backdrop takes the audience across China, from the snow-capped Himalayas to the flowery fields of southern China, from celestial palaces in ancient myths to city scenes in the modern day.
“They all have a nice story to tell,” Mr. Peterson said.
Besides form and technique, classical Chinese dance also emphasizes bearing. Shen Yun’s website says it is best described as the “inner spirit,” and allows for impressive expressivity.
“So exciting,” Mrs. Peterson said. “Emotional and beautiful.”
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.