PEORIA, Ill.—Kendra Brandes, a professor of fashion merchandising and apparel development, was captivated by Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing the performance at the Peoria Civic Centre on April 20.
“It was outstanding, it was just amazing, it was visually stunning, educational, it was wonderful,” said the associate professor for Bradley University.
New York-based Shen Yun is outstanding in that it’s the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, with the best dancers drawn internationally. It is amazing in that the dance form includes technically demanding feats such as flips, spins, and aerial tumbling. The combination of its brilliant costumes and colorful backdrops create what some call a visual feast. It is educational in that the dances tell stories from China’s 5,000 years—from a legend of the culture’s beginning to current events in modern China. Taken together, these created wonder for Ms. Brandes.
She attended Shen Yun at the Peoria Civic Center on April 20 with her friend, Charlotte Budde.
Ms. Budde loved the technically demanding dance, and was interested about the spirituality she saw in the performance.
Although Shen Yun is renowned for its skilled artistry, at heart, the company’s aim goes beyond excellence. It wants to restore the divinely inspired culture once seen as a gift from the gods.
“I was surprised at the spirituality that came in it,” said Ms. Budde, happy for the projected translations of the Chinese lyrics into English. The songs by award-winning vocalists reveal that traditionally, the Chinese believed the purpose of life was to prepare us for a journey beyond it.
Shen Yun “very much appreciates the aspects of Chinese culture that you don’t see in the Midwest. So it really opened up for us a lot of information,” Ms. Brandes said.
She saw it as “a visual depiction of what they are trying to express spiritually.”
From a dance by fairies of the sea, said to be visible only to the pure of heart, to the “The Mystical Udumbara,” a dance which tells of an amazing flower said to bloom only once every 3,000 years—heralding the arrival of a savior, each dance educates audiences on a spiritual teaching of traditional China.
“It’s just visually stunning,” Ms. Budde said. “I think it’s a wonderful telling of history through the arts, and it’s beautiful.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski
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.