‘You could see the birds’ in the Shen Yun Dancers

April 16, 2011 Updated: April 16, 2011

CHICAGO—Shen Yun Performing Arts is "just beautifully done. It’s a nice cultural experience," according to Wade Dickson, who works for Aeon Hewitt, a company that handles benefits administration.

Mr. Dickson attended the Saturday matinee performance at the Civic Opera House with his wife, Mary Jane.

"We just love it," Mr. Dickson said. "It’s my wife’s birthday present."

As part of its mission to revive genuine traditional culture, Shen Yun's dance covers a range of classical, ethnic, and folk dances.

In the action-packed dance piece set in the Mongolian wilderness, “Herding on the Grasslands,” Mr. Dickson noted that the male dancers “became the horse and the birds. You could physically see the horses, you could see the birds, their artistic ability—very impressive—very good."

Mrs. Dickson admired the female dancers in pieces such as Ladies of the Tang Palace and Min Nan Grace, the latter set on the shores of the South China Sea.

“The grace and the beauty of the ladies with their gowns and the flowingness of it, it’s gorgeous,” Mrs. Dickson said. She noted the dancers' “overall beauty and grace."

Mrs. Dickson mentioned one Shen Yun dance piece, Our Story, that features the meditation practice of Falun Dafa, an ancient tradition of mind, body, and spirit.

Although Falun Dafa is a traditional practice, in contemporary China, those who practice it are persecuted by the current regime. The teacher at the center of Our Story is taken away by thugs for writing on a chalkboard the Chinese characters “truth,” “compassion,” and “forbearance,” which are the central principles of Falun Dafa.

Mrs. Dickson said that she “didn’t realize that their faith base is still being persecuted so much in China." The dance piece Our Story ends on a strong note of justice and optimism.

Reporting by Valerie Avore.

Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago's Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org