CHICAGO—Shen Yun Performing Arts will perform a total of 10 shows in Chicago during its 2011 World Tour. Karl Arriola, an adjunct professor at Cardinal Stritch University, the world’s largest Franciscan Catholic University, and his wife, Patrica, an investigative assistant, were among the audience at the third show, on April 16 at Chicago's Civic Opera House.
It was the first time Mr. Arriola had attended a production based on Asian culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company offers the pure excellence of classical Chinese dance and music to portray beloved ancient myths, legends, and the divine beauty of 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
"I have to tell you that the synchronicity between the music and the movement—that was tremendous. It pulled me out of my chair.
"It compelled me to want to get up and go onto the stage to be part of the performance," he explained.
Mrs. Arriola joked she had to hold him in his chair.
"I was very pleasantly surprised with the tradition of the Chinese art and the performing arts," Mr. Arriola. "It was beautiful well done."
Mrs. Arriola agreed. "I love the performance; to me it’s just beautiful," she said. "It really touches the soul, I think."
She commented that the dancers were very talented, graceful, and delicate. "It reminds of something like flowers, very beautiful, very graceful."
The Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Orchestra presents all original music that is performed by both Western and Eastern instruments.
"The music was beautiful," said Mrs. Arriola, who is trained in classical music. "If the person has learned classical, they can play anything. To me classical covers everything, so I love the music."
The digital backdrops that interact with the performance was something new to Mrs. Arriola. "It’s very original and very creative."
Mr. Arriola teaches courses in cultural diversity, conflict management and business. "Understanding the roots and the way things [are], that is what we need. [Plus,] more of this type of availability to our culture for people to come and see to get entertained, and to open their eyes that there is much more than what they just imagine."
"I was very touched by the lyrics of the song that the woman [soloist] was singing because it was so true," Mrs. Arriola. "There is so much more to life than you know, [more than] money and material objects, and things like that; it’s so true."
"The philosophy was a home run. It was well well done," Mr. Arriola said and added, "To see the words on the screen with her voice and seeing the language, it’s hard to describe."
His wife elaborated, "To see the words in Chinese and in English and to hear her singing it, it was really touching."
"It’s a wonderful show, it really is," Mrs. Arriola said.
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Cat Rooney.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org