CHICAGO—When the curtain fell for the last time on Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company's final show at Chicago's Civic Opera House, oil painting artist, Ba Ninh Cao, was spellbound.
"It's wonderful, it’s a very good one … this is what my people used to see," Mr. Cao said. "They [the artists] practice a lot and come up very nice. It is beautiful."
Mr. Cao was born in Vietnam and served in the South Vietnamese Air Force in Saigon and Da Nang.
His art is on display at the National Veterans Art Museum.
In a profile on the mueseum's website, Mr. Cao says: "My works are washed in the blood and tears of suffering, of annihilation, of brother killing brother—all the baggage of humanity's shame. In my youth I was drawn and woven into the fabric of Vietnam, into a history written in shame, not pride."
The New York-based Shen Yun exposes the Chinese communist regime's oppression of freedom, depicted in some dances that convey the old Chinese adage: Good will always triumph over evil, even if not in this lifetime.
Shen Yun's story-based dances, hi-tech digital backdrop scenes, Shen Yun Orchestra's fusion of Eastern and Western instruments, soloist musicians and renowned vocalists, add up to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
'It's very well done, I like it very much'
Mr. Cao was joined by Lien Du who works in Social Security Administration in human services. Before that job, Mr. Du helped immigrants newly arriving in Chicago.
Mr. Du said of Shen Yun, "I think it's very good. It is well prepared, and the way they incorporate with the computer technology, that makes it a plus, and the dancers are beautiful, and a great use of color in the costumes … the background was just wonderfully enriched.
"It's well done, I like it very much … a feeling like nature, and then to see the dance of different areas by different minority groups, that's good, incorporated in the whole thing," he continued.
Mr. Du spoke against the abuse of human rights in China saying he supported Falun Gong practitioner's aspirations to stop the brutal oppression by the Chinese communist regime of their practice.
'It was very, very beautiful'
Mai Kocao echoed the words of her brother Ba Ninh Cao. "It is so good, first time I saw … all my friends need to see [it]."
When Ms. Kocao was young, she studied Chinese and her teacher also taught her the art of painting on silk. She also displays her artwork.
"I love the show with the monk, this is lovely. I love the last one very much. It was very, very beautiful, the movement … very good movement, and they join with the computer [technology], the background, this is very interesting."
She said she had saved her money to see Shen Yun so that she could see it at least once in her lifetime, and she urged her friends to do the same.
"I would tell my friends they should come to see this show, because this show is so good. All my family want to … I say to save their money to have at least one time in their life to see this show."
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will continue with shows in Los Angeles at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, April 28-30. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org