Shen Yun Performing Arts' return to the Windy City was met with enthusiastic applause this early spring evening, April 15. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company is set to grace the stage at the Civic Opera Theater for ten performances, April 15-24.
"Oh, it’s gorgeous," said Sheryl Novak, National Concierge President, Chicago Chapter, after seeing the show. "It's just so lush and so beautiful, and it tells such an amazing story. We were really amazed by the colors and the costumes, and the music is so beautiful.
"We were all complimenting the fact that we all felt so peaceful, that the music is so beautiful. We really had such a wonderful time!"
Ms. Novak said she enjoyed the bi-lingual aspect of the performance. "We appreciated the fact that they spoke in Chinese as well as speaking in English, so we understood it, but it is beautiful to listen to, to be spoken to in a native tongue. It was beautiful!"
She was amazed by the depth of classical Chinese dance and the ancient Chinese culture as presented by New York-based Shen Yun. She said, "I think that there is so much more for us to learn. I think that we could definitely spend more time finding out more about the history."
Jacqueline Berry, a concierge supervisor, agreed, and said, "I just loved it. The classical culture was so brought forth in front of our eyes on stage. I love the stamina; the dancers were so graceful, the costuming, the colors, everything was so brilliant. I love the animation of the backdrops … this is the ultimate and the best of cultural theater."
Ms. Berry added, "People would be interested in this type of entertainment. It’s a twist, it’s a different kind of entertainment. It’s relaxing, but it also tells a story. It’s so thought provoking, and brings to the surface some of the issues that they are experiencing that we are not aware of here."
Ms. Berry was moved by the dance Our Story, which touches on contemporary issues unfolding in China today. A beloved teacher is killed for her spiritual belief and for teaching her students about the principles of "truth," "compassion," and "tolerance," essential values in classical China.
Ms. Berry said, "I was kind of surprised that this is still in existence. That they would have any issue with teaching or education. … I think that these are something that the average American sometimes doesn’t see. This brings it to our attention."
Her only regret was that Shen Yun would not be staying in Chicago longer. "I am just sorry it is going to be such a short performance in Chicago, because this is something that I think has merit and could easily go through the entire summer. The more I see this production the more I see the need for others to see this. It’s educational, entertaining education!" she said.
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Jeanmarie Lunsford.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org