Shen Yun “Beyond Your Imagination,” Exclaims Theatergoer in Wisconsin (Photos)

( Audiences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minosota were treated to a total of five exhilerating shows put on by Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the Milwaukee Theater, on February 19-20 and at Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre on Febrary 22-23, 2013, respectively.

Symphony Chorus Member Totally Enjoys Shen Yun Orchestra

Zack Beasley enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts in Milwaukee

Many patrons of the arts attended the Shen Yun show, including Zack Beasley, a tenor in the Milwaukee Symphony chorus.

“I found the show to be very informative, entertaining, very precise. The costumes were beautiful; the music was lovely, and it was just very nice over all,” he explained.

Mr. Beasley said he learned a lot about Chinese culture from Shen Yun.

“It just felt like a very, very informative show that gave us insight into the culture and with the little stories [told by the bi-lingual emcees] that came before it, it was very helpful to understand what was going on stage,” he said.

He also “really enjoyed the authentic sound of the orchestra pit,” adding that it was “well balanced.” “The music went very well with all of the choreography of the dancers.”

He said he was able to better understand Chinese culture by taking in the sound of the orchestra. “The sounds … give you a feeling as though you are part of the culture.”

When he thinks of China, he said, he thinks of the erhu, a Chinese two-stringed instrument, saying it “gives the feel of the Far East.”

“So the way that is incorporated, with all of the dance, we feel as though they are bringing you right into the culture. You are really absorbed in every way. Especially with the number of dancers, that are on stage. It really is a very visually impactful presentation.”

Mr. Beasley said he enjoyed how the emcees introduced the different Chinese instruments to the audience, followed by the instrument’s sound. itself.

“I thought that was incredibly good. Of course being with the symphony, I am familiar with the glockenspiel and all the string instruments, but [not] the far Eastern instruments, that we don’t normally see in the United States. I really wish there was some kind of visual, so you could see the instrument … and how it is being played.”

His wish was granted when the erhu soloist appeared. “That was really interesting because then you could actually see how that instrument works, and I have never seen one of those before.”

In addition to classical Chinese dance, which was presented to the emperors at court, Shen Yun presents ethnic and folk dances that represent some of the more than 50 different peoples of China.

“I got the impression that [China is] a very diverse country. The people in the different regions bring different influences, colors, and themes,” he said, explaining more of what he had learned during the evening.

“Shen Yun Shows Teaches Us to Love One Another”

Dave Neuwald and his sister, Barbara Kurudza, enjoy an evening at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Milwaukee Theatre. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Also in the audience was the Neuwald family, whose arts’ roots go back to the German poet Emanuel Geibel. They also said their grandparents sang opera in Germany, too.

“Historically, going back, our family has musicians, composers, actors; we have quite a few in the arts,” explained Barbara Kurudza, who accompanied her brother Dave Neuwald.

It is one of the many reasons the pair were thrilled by Shen Yun.

“I would say that our entire family was raised to appreciate all types of music, certain classical music and classical dance. Our parents, from early on, took us to ballets, theater, the symphony, to absolutely everything,” said Ms. Kurudza, a freelance copy editor.

“I thought it was fabulous,” Ms. Kurudza said. “We were just talking about it on many levels. First and foremost, the entertainment value of it, just the costumes, the precision of the dancing and really keeping the true Chinese culture alive, I think that was something that is really important at this time in history.

“And the other aspect we talked about—we were hoping that what we considered the martyrs of Tiananmen Square were not forgotten. It’s good to see that this message is getting out in a venue, and in a manner that draws people who otherwise wouldn’t be aware of what’s happening because of other developments that are happening in our relationships with China—the economic aspect of it, the global economic aspect of it, that I think sometimes it is very easy to forget or to choose to forget the human rights violations … in China.”

She thought “it is important not only to embrace the culture of such an ancient civilization and keep that alive, but also to keep, foremost in people’s mind, the reality of what is happening in our world, right now. I think it was twofold. The costumes, choreography, music, soloist, and everything was just fantastic!”

Ms. Kurudza felt the Shen Yun performers demonstrated the highest artistic level.

She was also touched by the spirituality of the performance: “The words touched me in particular. For people who have open, tolerant minds, I think it is just a reminder about what unites all of us and it was a good message.”

She continued, “The human spirit and the divine spark in all of us, what we were really meant to be here for—to live with compassion and love and reaching out to one another, freedom and the freedom of that spirit, expression of that—that’s what I think unites all of us.”

Mr. Neuwald, sourcing manager for Johnson Controls, agreed: “To me, just overall, it was very spiritually uplifting. Even though there’s differences across all the strata, there is such a common element of the joy in music. The choreography of the dancing, the beautiful moves come across, the strength and the grace and the combination of all those elements. It hits a chord and fills you up with joy and peace.

“Culturally, just from an exploration of [Chinese] history, I thought it was just beautiful with the history they have to work from. So, I could see how they could change it year after year and come out with something new every time, and still be as exciting and interesting. I thought it was just really, really well done, I enjoyed it immensely!”

Given the display of Chinese traditional folk and ethnic dances, Ms. Kurudza felt that Shen Yun would help create tolerance among different people.

“What struck me, too, in terms of Chinese Culture, looking at all those years and going geographically through China, it really struck me how different elements of what we consider, a Russian culture or a European culture or a Middle Eastern culture were all captured, and you see that it is really a very diverse people. In that respect, too, it will probably tear down some walls of stereotyping that people have and really help understand the diversities of people and the culture.”

Federal Judge: Shen Yun “Just Bowls Me Over”

Among the many VIPs in the audience was Rudolph Randa, a U.S. federal judge. “I’m enjoying it immensely,” he enthused.

“It is something that I hadn’t seen before. It is a wonderful introduction, as you say, to traditional dance, Chinese dance. It is a pleasure for me to be here.”

Judge Randa bought tickets to the performance as a Christmas present for his wife, Melinda, a psychiatric social worker.

Mrs. Randa felt that Shen Yun is “absolutely inspiring and beautiful. My husband surprised me with these tickets. I loved it a lot.”

Judge Randa was appointed by George H. W. Bush as an Article III U.S. judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 1992.

Shen Yun’s mission is to revitalize traditional Chinese culture, a culture inspired by the heavens, yet almost completely destroyed by the Chinese communist regime. Being based outside of China in New York, Shen Yun has the freedom to express this culture through traditional dance, music, and legends, the company website states.

The judge said he was impressed with “The physical abilities of the dancers and how effortless they make everything look and the amount of grace that comes out, especially through the female dancers.”

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It just bowls me over that people can behave in that fashion—artistically with the appearance of not putting any effort into it all—though one knows it is a tremendous amount of effort.”

Mrs. Randa agreed: “It is just breathtaking! They make it look so easy, but when you think about what they are doing, it takes your breath away.”

Shen Yun brings together 5,000 years of history from various dynasties and eras to modern times by storytelling through short pieces of classical Chinese dance, a distinctive and comprehensive dance system.

Judge Randa valued Shen Yun as entertainment, but also saw beyond that to something deeper. “I see the entertainment value, and … getting to indulge in another culture, perhaps understanding the old China as opposed to the modern China.”

“It is great to see an entire culture and its expressions,” he said.

The federal judge said that he could sense the performers’ openness, cooperation and tolerance.

The dancers are “just very open to, it seems, to cooperation and a willingness to understand other people and share their tolerance and cooperation with other people—it seems that way. The dancers are expressing that to me, anyway.”

When asked if he would recommend Shen Yun to others, he replied, “Definitely!”

Shen Yun “A Fascinating Production,” Says State Legislator

Phyllis Kahn, a veteran Minnesota state legislator, praises Shen Yun for being absolutely fabulous

Also in the audience was Phyllis Kahn, a veteran Minnesota state legislator, who thought Shen Yun was “absolutely fabulous!”

“The whole combination of the projection and the costuming, and of course, the talent of the dancers and then the stories behind it, incredible!” said Representative Kahn, serving her 21st term in office.

Her academic achievements include, a B.A. in physics from Cornell, a doctoral degree in biophysics from Yale, and a M.P.A. from the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard.

Representative Kahn said that she enjoyed Shen Yun’s portrayal of the many folk and ethnic dances in China.

“It brings out all these different parts, like going to the borders of Mongolia, Tibet and things like that. It’s a fascinating production,” she said.

Ms. Kahn added, “The talent of these people is absolutely incredible, and it is so wonderful to see this huge audience. It is a unique form of entertainment.”

She said that the thing that she liked most was “when they have projected figures [on backdrop] that come and then become real live figures [on stage]. It’s incredible!”

She was referring to the animated backdrops where figures onscreen seem to come to life onstage as their roles are taken over by live performers.

When asked what she would say to her friends about Shen Yun, she replied, “You should bring your parents and your children, too, because it is so beautiful, and it is such a different introduction to a different kind of culture.”

CFO: Shen Yun Demonstrates “Goodness Will Prevail”

Also attending the show was Patrick Thielen, chief financial officer for Innovize Inc, a local medical manufacturing firm, who was accompanied by his wife Jane, who works in the Bethal University business office.

Mrs. Thielen said she thought the show “was very interesting … presenting history in a wonderful way, it was great, it was a joy to watch.”

Mr. Thielen said he liked all of the costumes. “I thought they were just gorgeous. It seemed fluorescent, very colorful.”

He added, “One of the things I thought was really neat, was the way the female dancers, the way they moved. I think they were not bending their knees … which made them look like they were floating, which I thought was very unique.

“They are just very light and … project the fact that they are a very peaceful culture.”

Mr. Thielen also enjoyed one of the themes woven throughout the show that “Even though there was evil out there, … that goodness would prevail over evil.”

Referring to the current state of affairs in China, he said, “today it’s very different. It’s not a religious culture. It’s just the opposite, it’s more of a military culture.”

Mrs. Thielen agreed with her husband. She added, “And so, it really is, it occurs all the time, the oppression, and I’m really happy that [Shen Yun] brought that up.”

She was referring to some of the dances sets that portray the persecution of Falun Gong in China and the practitioners’ courage in the face of oppression.

“We are so glad that they brought that out because I think when we live in America we can’t even, like our children, cannot even comprehend that that happens,” she said.

Retired Psychotherapist: Shen Yun “More Than Entertainment”

Another theatergoer, Harry Schusser, a retired psychotherapist for the Minneapolis’s Department of Corrections, said that Shen Yun’s “pageantry and the color and the dancing is all beautiful, but there is a deeper message here and I love that.”

Having traveled to China several times, he felt Shen Yun is a beautiful way to present classical Chinese culture, as well as contemporary issues, such as the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

“I believe that the [dance] piece that they bring, which is not allowed to be spoken of much in China, is a very courageous thing. That part is so fundamental to what they are presenting, and I hope the people got that. The pageantry and the color and the dancing is all beautiful, but there is a deeper message here and it is about spirituality, and a people, and I love that.”

Mr. Schusser was profoundly moved by the message he saw in the show and elaborated.

“It’s a beautiful message! The beauty of the world is here for us to participate in, but if we, and they said it very clearly, if we are living in delusion then we don’t get to participate in the world in a way that it can be offered and all it’s beautiful, beautiful gifts.

“The beauty of nature and the beauty of dance, and humanity, and closeness, all of it. It had so many pieces, it’s a very complicated piece, and yet it looks simplistic. And that is great because you can just sit back and enjoy it. I took more out of it than just the simple entertainment.”

Photographer: Shen Yun “Beyond Your Imagination”

Mr. Tom Rayburn enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theatre, on Feb. 23. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Tom Rayburn, a professional photographer and owner of a photography studio, deeply appreciated seeing Shen Yun.

“Oh, I love it! It’s—I love it! Absolutely amazing! These people are very talented and the culture, I love the Chinese culture. They are portraying it very well. Yes, very well.”

He expressed his amazement and said, “Very colorful, very alive. It really pulls you in, it stimulates all of your senses.”

Mr. Rayburn said he was moved by the opening performance, “Descending to the World,” which celebrates the beginning of China’s classical culture.

“The opening, when it opened up, the girls dancing in the colorful dresses, just the color scheme and what they were doing, how they were performing. I really, you didn’t know what to expect, but then you saw that, and it was beyond your imagination.”

He said as soon as he saw Shen Yun advertised, he knew he had to see it. “I actually saw a billboard. I have read books on Chinese culture and I thought I could relate to the show.”

He said that seeing Shen Yun had deepened his appreciation of traditional Chinese culture. “This portrays it in living color. You know, you can only get so much from a book, your imagination.”

Mr. Rayburn said he would definitely recommend Shen Yun to his friends. “I would say, that the Chinese culture is a very revered tradition and if you’ve never seen it portrayed, you should look into [Shen Yun]. You won’t be disappointed!”


Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts


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