(Minghui.org) The New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts company made its world-class presence known for three sold-out shows in Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on January 5 and 6, and two shows at the Atlanta Fox Theatre on January 8 and 9, 2013. A bevy of VIPs attended the performance, giving it very high marks.

Shen Yun Brings the World Closer Together, Says Doc Hollywood Author Neil Shulman

Dr. Shulman was impressed with the message he saw in Shen Yun’s performance (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)

Dr. Neil Shulman, healthcare activist and author of the book adapted into the 1991 Doc Hollywood film, thought Shen Yun was “spectacular,” adding, “[It contained] lots of powerful messages that can be applied globally, not only to China.”

He also noted that Atlanta has “cultures and segments from all over the world since the 1996 Olympics. By bringing Shen Yun here, you can unite the spirits of all, which is so important for the Chinese people, as well as people all over the world.”

Dr. Shulman has authored numerous books promoting medical literacy, as well as children books and screenplays. He is also an associate professor in the School of Medicine at Emory University.

He said that the theme of freedom linked each of the different performances to each other.

“One of the messages is that people should have the freedom to live a peaceful life. The most important thing is not being famous or rich or bureaucratic, but caring about each other, joining together to make the world a humane place,” he explained.

He said that he enjoyed how Shen Yun's message was merged with the universality of the different art forms.

“You add music and dance to the strong humane message that captures the minds of everybody in the audience, and that is spectacular. I wish that all seven billion people … could all watch this show.”

“Since ancient times, China has been known as the ‘Celestial Empire,’” according to Shen Yun’s website. “It refers to the belief that the divine, through various dynasties, transmitted a rich and abundant culture to the Chinese people.”

“If all seven billion people could be united in spirit—as the Chinese culture goes way back in history—Western people could learn a lot from it. Chinese tradition has more openness that we Westerners have,” said Dr. Shulman. He concluded by saying that Shen Yun “brings the world closer together.”

Shen Yun “Keeps Me Captivated,” Says Director-Playwright

Ms. Paula Edwards enjoyed her evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta on Jan. 6 (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times.)

Also in the audience was Paula Edwards, director and playwright of the AHR Media Group, who summed up her experience of Shen Yun in one word: “Amazing!”

“The drama is awesome, it keeps me captivated,” Ms. Edwards said. “Everything is related, the stories that are being told—I liked ['An Unexpected Encounter'],” she said. “That whole scene was just wonderfully played out.”

Ms. Edwards said that, as a director-playwright, she expects excitement, and “from the first scene to intermission it was very exciting, very captivating … It’s been very, very amazing.”

She said that Shen Yun has inspired her. “I do write a lot of drama, it has inspired me to be more theatrical with my productions. I loved the dancing. The dancing was amazing, so that is something I might like to implement in my productions, my future productions.”

She also enjoyed the digital backdrop in the dances, which complemented the storytelling. “Amazing! I thought it was artistic that [Shen Yun] included the animation-to-life type of performance. I love the backdrop, I love the whole animation that goes along with the choreography.

“I think this show is amazing,” she enthused, “The choreography is awesome, the costumes are very elaborate, very colorful, and it’s amazing, it’s really amazing!”

Former State Trade Official Thanks Shen Yun

Mr. Jim Lenaham enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Fox Theatre on Jan. 8. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times.)

Another appreciative audience member, Jim Lenaham, a private consultant and former state trade official, thought that the Shen Yun performance was “fabulous!”

“It’s wonderful to see someone else celebrating their culture, and just to see the variety of the costumes, the color, the music, the modes, the simple things they celebrated, and the age—5,000 years,” he said.

Mr. Lenaham said that he had managed international economic development investments at the Georgia Department of Economic Development for 12 years. He said he was very happy to see Chinese culture presented by Shen Yun.

Mr. Lenaham thanked the performers for “celebrating your history and your heritage,” adding, “And thank you for taking the time to focus on the art and bring it to us so that we can understand a little more about it, and maybe appreciate more about the simple messages that are constant in life.”

Mr. Lenaham said the dance “An Unexpected Encounter” was an essential component to the show as it brought to light the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa in China today.

He said if the story of Falun Dafa was left out of the history of China, it would be akin to telling people about the history of Atlanta without mentioning the civil rights movement or the Civil War. He said that he enjoyed Shen Yun’s presentation of both the traditions and the modern reality of China.

Someone Arranged It, Higher Than I,” Says Senior Dancer

Dorothy Jones said that her coming to see Shen Yun was all “arranged!” “Someone arranged it, higher than I,” she exclaimed, recounting the chain of events that allowed her to secure a ticket to the show.

Ms. Jones, who is a senior dancer, was fascinated by the classical Chinese dance performed by Shen Yun.

“I’m 79 years old, and I got my first pair of tap shoes when I was 65, so I danced with a group of older ladies. We do performing work, and I’m just so enthralled by how perfect all of these dances are,” said Ms. Jones, who has been attending the Fox Theatre since she was four, when she saw the premier of Snow White.

Ms. Jones was impressed by the dancers' synchronistic movements, saying, “All of their heads are level, every arm movement is perfection, every skirt is going the same way.”

She said that she enjoyed both the male and female dancers, noting that the males were “masculine” and the females: “There’s just something so beautiful about the ladies.”

She added “the more [dancers] there are, the harder it is to get synchronized and be unison in all of their movements. And how in the world do the [dancers'] sleeves all go the same way?”

Ms. Jones said that Shen Yun is “a wonderful show,” and “I’m particularly enjoying the coordination, the choreography, the beauty, and just how lovely, lovely, everything is on stage.”

Dr. Michael Ducket, Founder of Upgrading Life: Saying “Thank you” to Shen Yun “Is Not Saying Enough”

Dr. Michael Duckett said he was touched and exhilarated by the finale in Shen Yun Performing Arts in Atlanta (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times.)

Dr. Michael J. Duckett, a physician and social scientist, was full of praise for Shen Yun: “If I said 'Thank You,' I would feel like I’m not saying enough by a thousand times, or maybe ten thousand times!”

Dr. Duckett is the founder of Upgrading Life and author of many books and programs focusing on improving human achievement. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, according to his website.

He was impressed by Shen Yun's mission, which seeks to revive China's 5,000 years of the divinely inspired culture through traditional Chinese dance, elaborate costumes, stunning backdrops, and music.

Dr. Duckett said he was also touched and exhilarated by the show's finale. “To me, the end exhibited, or expressed, the complete show, which was the East met the West and there was a harmony about it,” Dr. Duckett said. “It did come together perfectly, and it stimulated a lot of emotion in me. I could see a lot of underlying messages and I felt that could come across to all of us, and the big message was kindness. Kindness—and humility around that kindness—to give, just to give, and that is just what you are as a person.”

He said that he would like the artists to know that “It gave me a bit of an emotional experience. I felt you in my own essence, in your essence.”

Humanitarian Don Smith Sees Shen Yun Twice in a Row

Also in attendance was humanitarian Don Smith, who saw Shen Yun twice in two days. “What I’m seeing on stage is not just the history of China; it’s the history of the world,” he said.

Mr. Smith is the former head of a successful local construction company who then started a humanitarian grassroots program to help villages in Africa and the Philippines become self-sustaining, and, in turn, help other villages do the same.

“It showed me the heart, the real heart, the spirit of the Chinese people.

“I think it’s a very entertaining show and very well done and well orchestrated … and wonderful people that are doing the dancing. Underneath all that, I think I have really learned more about the spirit of the Chinese people. [Shen Yun] shows that people know that there’s a higher power, that there’s something that’s there for all of us if we can approach it and the show helps you approach that,” he said.

Mr. Smith mentioned that he had studied the works of famous Chinese philosophers, and connected with the “mandate of heaven.” “A heavenly ruler is someone who really cares for the people, not for himself but for the people. When we have that kind of ruler, then you have a good society, then you have freedom, you have prosperity, you have happiness, you have everything that anybody wants, and that’s what everybody in the world wants,” he explained.

He said he was very moved by the spirituality of Chinese culture—from where it started, 5,000 years ago—to the revival of traditional Chinese culture in present day China. “You need a government that’s benevolent to the people and that’s what the Chinese people need, but it’s up to the people to bring that about.”

Mr. Smith said that the things that people really want in life “don't come from us. They come from some power above us, stronger than us, and we need to get in harmony with that. That’s what I think. Plus … the show was entertaining and the dancers were wonderful.”

Also taking in the show were Mr. And Mrs. Stanley Donnell, who said they are enamored with Asian culture and art. Mrs. Donnell admired the spirituality of the Chinese culture presented in the show, saying, “It was wonderful, it was beautiful. The costumes were fantastic and the dancers were absolutely beautiful.”

Mr. Donnell said he thought the classical Chinese dancing was “phenomenal, and the choreography was out of this world. I would recommend it.” He said he would tell his friends that “they need to see it to believe it.”

Shen Yun Reveals “We’re All Connected,” Says Native American

Charles Shaker, a senior sales rep at Unisource, attended the show with his fiancé, Deborah Ambrey.

“It’s fantastic, the symmetry of it, the beauty of it, and the story,” Ms. Ambrey said. She said that, because she is an American Indian, “I’m a direct descendent of this,” adding, “Our dances are a bit different, but there’s a lot of spirituality and beliefs that are the same.” She said she felt there was a universal spirituality conveyed in Shen Yun, which is, “We’re all connected.”

Ms. Ambrey was moved by each and every detail of the different dances. “I noticed the Tibetan colors were Tibetan and I noticed the boots with the laces. I noticed all the detail. I did appreciate that because they didn’t leave out that detail.”

Mr. Shaker said that he and Ms. Ambrey were determined to see Shen Yun this year and that it “was inevitable.”

“We were going to be here, and it’s better than any other kind of Chinese New Year performance we could think about coming [to], absolutely beautiful.”

When asked about the digital projection backdrop displayed behind the performers, Mr. Shaker replied, “It’s very good. I think the backdrop and the way the people have that backdrop with the people dropping down and then the people popping up on the screen is very ingenious.”

Mrs. Ambrey agreed, “The integration is so smooth; they do fly out of the set.”

She described Shen Yun as very moving. “You feel like you can embrace the culture,” she said.