INDIANAPOLIS—George and Kathryn Reed had seen Shen Yun Performing Arts before, but witnessing it again at the Butler Arts Center in Indianapolis on April 3, it left an even deeper impression.
The first time around, you’re dazzled by the spectacle, explained Mr. Reed, a company director, but if you see if again, you find yourself unpacking all of the stories and history unfolding before you.
“It’s a very unique and elegant presentation,” he said. “The choreography’s fantastic. Outstanding. And the way the performers just threw themselves into their part, the humorous parts, the angry parts, they actually portray it very well. You can see the talent coming through. Highly talented.”
“It’s loaded with energy,” he added. “You feel a lot of energy on that stage. And then when you throw in the technology of the three dimensional projection, it just really adds up.”
New York-based Shen Yun has been touring the globe for a dozen years. In 2006, a group of artists had come together with the mission of reviving the arts of 5,000 years of ancient Chinese civilization and bringing it to the world’s stage.
The traditional Chinese culture is said to be divinely inspired, and the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism formed the foundation of society in China for millennia. From emperors to the common man, one believed in living in harmony with Heaven and Earth. These ideas permeated history and legend alike, and the stories are told through classical Chinese dance by Shen Yun.
So moved were the Reeds by Shen Yun’s production that they followed up on their after show comments via email.
“It is remarkable that talented souls from such a diversity of cultures has come together to express and to celebrate 5,000 years of the best of Chinese culture,” Mr. Reed wrote. “Such a celebration is significant in that it means the message is real, important, and getting out. The show itself opens with a flourish and sweeps one away in its grand spectacle.”
“By the end, the viewer is inspired and uplifted with the message of hope, of change, and the knowledge that there remain those who believe in honesty, compassion, and improving the world with acts of good,” Mr. Reed said.
Mrs. Reed added she had a special appreciation for the artists’ talents.
“As someone who majored in Theater and Vocal Performance at the University of Minnesota, I can truly appreciate the magnitude of the Shen Yun performances. The dedication the dancers have to their art is clear to see and they work together, moving with such grace and trust in their fellow performers, that it is truly a delight to behold,” she wrote.
“As a singer, I can tell you that the music of the performance is spectacular, combining Western and Eastern traditions in a way that is very rarely done,” she wrote.
She astutely remarked that the two schools of music have little in common, but Shen Yun found a way not only to make it work, but to make it beautiful. By combining the Chinese melodies and staying true to the characteristics of instruments like the pipa and erhu—instruments thousands of years old—with the grandeur of a classical symphony by using Western orchestral arrangement techniques, Shen Yun’s live orchestra does something special.
“Musical compositions of this type are highly difficult since the two traditions do not share a lot of commonalities, and yet Shen Yun’s compositions are breathtakingly beautiful and greatly compliment the dancers on stage,” Mrs. Reed wrote.
With reporting by Sherry Dong.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.