“Cleveland Rocks” is more than the theme song of the 1995-2004 Drew Carey Sitcom Show. It’s an appropriate slogan as Cleveland is both the birthplace of the phrase “Rock and Roll” and of a long list of beloved entertainers. Comedians Drew Carey, Arsenio Hall, and Tim Conway, actresses Halle Berry, and Monica Potter, and actors Alan Ruck and Burgess Meredith are just a few on that list.
Cleveland will rock once again but this time with a different kind of entertainer; these perform in the New York-based non-profit Shen Yun Performing Arts company. Shen Yun will be performing at the Playhouse Square State Theatre on Jan. 30-31, with a Saturday and Sunday matinée and a Saturday evening performance.
The company’s inspiration comes from traditional Chinese performing arts (dance, opera, and theater) originating thousands of years ago to entertain the VIPs of ancient China.
To revitalize these traditional arts, Shen Yun presents some 20 vignettes featuring classical Chinese dance, a distinct and demanding dance system, solo musicians, operatic-like singers, and a live orchestra. Each year the company brings to the public an entirely new and captivating performance.
Cleveland’s own Drew Carey loved the Shen Yun performance he saw in 2014. “Are you kidding? It’s fantastic. Really, the dance moves are just right. That’s what I like the best,” Mr. Carey said, “The artistry is really fantastic.”
A fellow comedian across the globe concurred. Go Hye Seong saw the 2015 Shen Yun production in South Korea. He, like Mr. Carey, was very impressed with the technical skills of the dancers. “The spinning movements were amazing. They spun dozens of times at one time. Wow! And the jumping movements, wow! How can they jump so high with such gentleness and softness,” he said.
Magician duo, known for their performances with white tigers and lions, Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn of “Siegfried & Roy” saw the 2016 performance on Jan. 23 in Las Vegas and were touched by the depth of the spiritual nature of the culture presented.
“I was very impressed. It was food for my soul and for my heart … You have to see it. It’s the culture. It’s the precision,” Mr. Fischbacher said. “Things that we are losing today. The goodness, I saw it all on stage today.”
Shen Yun travels through 5,000 years of history in two and a half hours. The mini-stories bring audiences to heavenly realms, and introduce famous legends, folklore, characters, and modern heroes. These stories can have the effect of making audience members laugh one moment and cry the next.
In Mesa, Az., Jill Willhoite, the chief operating officer for Float Pod Technologies, was enchanted by Shen Yun. “I laughed, I cried,” said Mrs. Willhoite, who is expecting a child. “I had so many emotions, and even my baby girl was kicking throughout. It was excellent!”
Linda Hughes attended the Melbourne, Fla. performance on Jan. 20. She was charmed by the dance, “Monkey King and Dragon Palace,” and she found it humorous. “Humor helps make you feel better,” she said. “You forget about everything else because your mind is calming and clear.”
“For 5,000 years divine culture flourished in the land of China. Humanity’s treasure was nearly lost, but through breathtaking music and dance, Shen Yun is bringing back this glorious culture,” states Shen Yun’s website.
Kelly Van Roy, a college student drove two hours from Georgia College to Atlanta, Ga. to see Shen Yun on Jan 17, a performance she had wanted to see for several years. Ms. Van Roy said that she felt emotional watching some of story-based dances, and laughed at others: ‘I liked the display of not just the culture, but across all ages and all walks of life, they do the best from the divine to the commonplace to the very inner being of the human soul.'”
Critics have also found Shen Yun to be a performance to highly praise and recommend. Mr. Mahfouz Doss, past president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which produces the Golden Globe Awards, said about Shen Yun: “I have seen several shows; this one is the best.”
He saw the performance at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Jan. 22. With an impressive background critiquing film production, Mr. Doss noted, “I am very difficult to please, but I was pleased.”
The next two stops for the Midwest portion of the 2015 tour for two Shen Yun companies will be St. Louis, Mo. on Feb. 12-14 and Rosemont, Ill., in the Chicago suburbs, on Feb. 13-14.
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.
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.