Shen Yun Creates Timeless Memories for Theatergoers in Ohio (Photos)
(Minghui.org) Shen Yun Performing Arts International company received rave reviews for its stellar four-show extravaganza in Ohio at Cincinnati's Aronoff Center, and Columbus' Ohio Theatre, on February 7-10, 2013.
Anthropology Professor: Shen Yun Represents “All the Diversity in China”
Dr. Adolph Greenberg and Mrs. Greenberg attend Shen Yun Performing Arts in Cincinnati. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Among the many delighted guests attending Shen Yun was Dr. Adolph Greenberg, a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Miami University of Oxford, who specializes in cultural anthropology. He was accompanied by his wife Sandra, a retired middle school science teacher and counselor.
Dr. Greenberg described the show as a “representation of all the diversity in China.”
“I feel it’s very impressive; it’s wonderful,” he said during intermission. “It’s nice to see 5,000 years being played out—in the diversity of traditions and beliefs and the common humanity at the same time—this intersection of all of this multicultural connections that you see is really impressive.”
Mrs. Greenberg added: “I am just inspired by it. The cultural impact, the colors, the performance is superb—it’s giving me insights that I didn’t know before and I am really appreciating learning them.”
The many traditional folk dances featured in Shen Yun, which represent China’s diverse geographic and ethnic regions, especially delighted Dr. Greenberg.
“It was just impressive because I have some background in far Eastern studies. I taught some courses, so I knew something about minority nationalities as an anthropologist,” he said. “It was really neat to see the richness played out as performing arts and that was very impressive.”
The spiritual themes of China’s ancient culture expressed through dance, inspired Mrs. Greenberg.
“The history and the relationship with a spirit and how that involves the culture and the dance and the music has simply inspired me, and I’ve enjoyed all of it,” she said, adding the dancers had an ethereal quality and seemed at times to be almost weightless.
“I am still trying to figure out how they can move the way they’re moving. I’m watching their feet move, but it’s as if they’re flowing. It’s an absolutely beautiful, beautiful experience to watch. I wish I could do that!”
Dr. Greenberg commented on the artists, saying that they exude a deep passion for their culture and commitment to preserving it.
“I’m impressed with the intricacy of the motions and the movements and what it takes [mentally] and the heart to be able to execute that, at that level,” he explained.
Dr. Greenberg thought the artists achieved technical perfection in their dance and also brought a passion and love for their art into each movement.
“It’s just amazing, every thing from the tips of the fingers, all the way from the hands, down to the torso into the feet, it takes a level of training and knowledge [to achieve],” he exclaimed.
“But it’s much more visceral than that to me. To be executed at that level, it has to come from the heart as much of that passion I think, not in just the mechanics of something. Everybody can learn mechanics, but the other level is something else. So it’s pretty impressive,” he concluded.
“You Have to Come See” Shen Yun, Says Official
Tracy Maxwell Heard, (R) who serves as the Minority Whip in the Ohio House of Representatives, and Cecilia McFadden enjoy an evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Ohio Theatre, Feb. 9. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Also in the audience was Tracy Maxwell Heard, who serves as the Minority Whip in the Ohio House of Representatives. She attended the show with Cecilia McFadden, a technology consultant.
“You have to come see it. If you don’t see it here, go see it somewhere else,” she exclaimed.
“It’s worth going to travel to see it. I would recommend it. If they say it was coming somewhere close by, it’s worth that travel, it’s that good.”
Representative Heard, had written a welcome letter for Shen Yun’s program. “This is my first experience; it’s a beautiful show,” she said.
“It’s beautiful. I grew up in the arts. It’s just wonderful to see performances like this … [which] bring a variety of things you don’t see all the time. So it’s been good, it’s great,” Ms. McFadden added.
Representative Heard said that one of the classical dance programs that stood out for her was “Ancient Elegance,” which she described as, “gorgeous” and “beautiful!”
She explained, “I actually danced for 19 years in ballet, so I enjoy this. I enjoy the diversity of it. Every dance is different and that’s what makes it really enjoyable.”
In addition to classical Chinese dance, the dancers specialize in folk and ethnic dances that display the breadth of Chinese culture.
Ms. McFadden mentioned the diversity of the culture presented as well. “The other thing, it just showed the variety of cultures within China. Chinese culture is diverse, there are just so many different things. That’s evident in the dance,” she said.
“I like all of the ethnic ones, more of the folk dances,” Ms. Heard said, adding, “Of the skill of the performers, I think they’re outstanding, absolutely. Obviously very well trained.”
Ms. McFadden said that she especially liked the live orchestra: “The orchestra is just wonderful, it’s exquisite I cannot believe... I know that they’re live, but just amazing. You can hear all the distinctive sounds.”
The representative agreed, “It’s a beautiful addition. There’s nothing like having a live performance here versus having a taped recording. It makes this very different. It brings the show to life.”
Ms. Heard explained that she noticed that the diversity present in Shen Yun reminded her of her own community.
“As I said, the [welcome] letter that I submitted to them, one of the things I love about living in Columbus is we have such a vast and diverse cultural community here, and the arts are really very strongly supported in Columbus. I think that’s why we are able to attract a show like this and you get this kind of turnout. The crowd is just as diverse as the community is.”
She felt that Shen Yun “really expresses how diverse China is as a community. And you think of the Chinese culture as all one and homogenous, and it’s not. There are, from the different regions and the different cultures within China itself. That’s probably the best lesson or the best reminder this evening, is that they are as diverse a people as we are.”
The show was important to Ms. McFadden because it gave her a different perspective on China than she previously had.
“What we learn from a historical perspective and the politics of what we perceive China to be is just a stark contrast to this contribution and what it is,” she said.
She remarked that Shen Yun helps people “know the human side, as opposed to more of a government or diplomatic side to experiencing the people. Its very one-dimensional the things that we see. We just see what we perceive the government to be and what we perceive [of] their sports. But there’s just so much more to the people and their sense of self, their sense of soul.
“Very, very important. And the way they even portray—though persecution is a human rights issue—but to be able to portray it in a way that’s compassionate and with dignity, it’s just well done.”
Ms. McFadden was referring to one of the dances set that portrays the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.
“And there’s hope. In the dance it was there. It was a very hopeful ending. Even though there is persecution, in the end ultimately there is a positive solution and victory. It really speaks to something you don’t hear a lot about in the Chinese community especially in the media, and that’s how spiritual they are as people and have been for thousands of years,” the representative concluded.
Former Commissioner: Shen Yun Recreates the Beauty of Traditional Chinese Culture
Thomas Blust and his granddaughter enjoy an evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts in Cincinnati. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Thomas Blust, the former chief of the civil division in the Clermont County Prosecutor’s office and interim Clermont County commissioner last year, took his granddaughter, Shaylee, to Shen Yun to teach her a little about classical Chinese music and dance—some of the oldest art forms in the world.
“I have been explaining parts to my granddaughter so she would understand the different [Chinese] ethnic groups,” said Mr. Blust during the intermission. “She is enjoying the costumes, the dancing, and music.”
“I think they have done an excellent job of creating the beauty of the culture and the vastness of the history of the country,” he said. “I will take that home.”
Mr. Blust enjoyed Shen Yun's collection of story-based dances, which are both entertaining and educational for all ages.
“It’s rich in the history of [China],” he said. “You can understand, as they move through these segments, [the historical references]. Or you can simply sit down, and take in the music and the costumes and the artistic and athletic abilities of the dancers—I think you could enjoy it either way.”
He was also impressed by Shen Yun’s original orchestra, which features traditional Chinese instruments leading the melodies.
“It’s excellent,” he said. “I’ve explained to [Shaylee] that there were traditional orchestra pieces and then Chinese instruments that would be blending in together, which was very unique.”
Mr. Blust said he decided to attend the show because he enjoys trying new experiences, and had a wonderful time.
Dancers Are “So Perfect, So Clean,” Says Dancer Teacher
Aronoff Center for the Arts. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Also in the audience was Fran Bailey, a dance instructor and choreographer, who attended the show with her husband. She said Shen Yun was so flawless that she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Technically the [dancers] are really, really proficient—so much so that it’s like you’re not sure what you’re seeing because it’s so perfect,” she said. “It’s so clean, there is not a ripple.”
Ms. Bailey is a lifelong dancer and studied ballet and modern dance. She also teaches meditation and is an energy healer at Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine.
The pure and positive energy exuded by the Shen Yun dancers, struck a chord in her. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, artists must first cultivate their character and inner self before they can present true beauty to their audience.
“It’s a different energy from what Americans are used to seeing. It brings a different energy because it’s so clean,” she said. “It’s delightful.”
“The energy is contained in a perfect picture, but they are technically just amazing.”
She said that all of the performers “have a performance quality and the ones who were in front and center were brilliant and chosen correctly for these different pieces,” adding, “It’s just so perfect. It’s really, really amazing!”
Ms. Bailey described the dancers as brilliant and marveled at how well they portrayed their characters.
She also appreciated Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops, which add context and color to the story-based dances, and interact seamlessly with the performers.
“I like the transitions of the backdrop—its wonderful, really, really beautiful,” Ms. Bailey concluded.
Category: Shen Yun Performing Arts