OMAHA, Neb.—Dr. Dwain Leonhardt and his wife, Carol, learned a bit about 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture by seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company at the stately Orpheum Theater on March 9.
Shen Yun tours the world each season showcasing the authentic traditional Chinese culture, which was almost completely destroyed under communist rule, particularly during the Cultural Revolution. Being based in New York, Shen Yun has the freedom to express this culture to its fullest through the performing arts.
The Leonhardts came to the performance with an already established fondness for Chinese culture as they lived in Taiwan for eight years, some 18 years ago.
“Oh, we loved their performance,” said Ms. Leonhardt. They they took in the arts while in Taiwan.
Each Shen Yun performance includes some 20 presentations of dance, music, song, and dance, some depicting stories from China’s past and a few from the present. According to the website, each story or song expresses cherished virtues of traditional Chinese culture, and has a message or moral to teach.
Yet his long association with Chinese culture, Dr. Leonhardt said that Shen Yun enhanced his understanding of it. He is a medical director and professor of Physician Assistant Studies program at Union College, in Lincoln, Neb.
“It is beautiful and artistic,” said Mrs. Leonhardt. “And the music, I just love the way the erhu has amazing range. You can’t believe that comes from two strings.” Mrs. Leonhart is the English as a Second Language coordinator at Southeast Community College.
Shen Yun travels with a live orchestra with original music, which is a unique blending of traditional Eastern and Western instruments such as the erhu, also known as the Chinese violin.
Mrs. Leonhardt found some commonalities between traditional Chinese culture and American culture, saying, “I think the references to the divine and the gift of god to have this type of talent … I think that is what we share very much in common.”
“I agree with that also,” said her husband, “and the view of heaven or wherever they went to, we believe in that also. And the fellowship of the villages, there is togetherness there. We have that here in our families and groups also,” he said.
Mrs. Leonhardt stated that Shen Yun “offers them a rare opportunity to see the history of the world, really, because the Chinese have recorded their history far longer than most other countries.”
“We used to live near the Palace Museum in Taiwan where all the beautiful artifacts of China that left the mainland went there to that museum,” she said. And she listed “the amazing calligraphy, the ivory carvings, the painting, all those kinds of things.”
“All those things are treasures the world needs to know about,” she said.
Reporting by Stacey Tang and Cat Rooney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.