Anne Blecken is a founding member and past president of the Memphis Horticultural Society. She is a reporter for the Commercial Appeal and a garden writer for national publications. She said Shen Yun was “fantastic, I’ve never seen anything to compare.”
The first act absorbed her attention, she said. In An Era Begins, the curtain opens to reveal a regiment of celestial soldiers, preparing for a battle between good and evil,” according to the program.
“From the drums at the beginning it had me,” said Mrs. Blecken. “I thought it was just fantastic.”
She said the symmetry of the dancers was remarkable, “everybody was the same height, did you notice that? There wasn’t an inch of difference I don’t think; I think it’s fantastic.”
A member of Mrs. Blecken’s group is a pianist and singer. Soprano Betty Milford said the mixture of Chinese and Western instruments in the orchestra was very interesting.
She also said she was intrigued by the contemporary history in some of the dances. “I felt that it was wonderful in that they are trying to tell us something, too.”
Shen Yun is based in New York and so far has not been able to perform in mainland China. According to the company website, Shen Yun intends to revive the divinely inspired Chinese civilization, which has been all but completely demolished under six decades of communist rule.
Mrs. Milford said: “Well I think that it’s very obvious when they say that you can’t see this in China today that maybe the current regime doesn’t encourage all of this … and it’s very general the way they are handling it but I think it’s interesting, because we know that certain things are going on there … that the people don’t like.”
According to the program, throughout China’s 5,000 years of civilization, “a recurring theme has been that good is rewarded and wrongdoing is punished. The lesson still rings true in China today, where a contest of good and evil is playing out.”
Reporting by Selena Chen and Mary Silver.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be at the Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis for one more performance.
For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.