Shen Yun Grants Wish to See China

CHICAGO— Al Fierke came with brother-in-law, John Grury, for a night of classical Chinese dance and music presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts. They attended the Saturday evening performance at Chicago’s Civic Opera House on April 5.

Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of culture nearly lost through decades of communist rule, as its website explains.

“Chinese culture is obviously one of the more organized ones that has been around for a long time and,  I would say it is probably a shame that the Chinese government doesn’t let them share in their own past,” Mr. Grury said, speaking to the fact that Shen Yun is not allowed to perform in China.

In addition to classical Chinese dance, the company brings classically trained vocalists, instrumentalists, and an orchestra comprised of both Western and Eastern instruments to the stage.

Mr. Fierke, who owns Chicago Corvette Supply, most enjoyed the sopranos and the erhu player. The erhu is a two-stringed violin-like instrument that is played on the lap. It has a sonorous and often soulful sound.

“I think it was artistic and the dance certainly physical,” he said. The physical quality of the dance stems from the fact that classical Chinese dance includes vigorous flips, leaps and spins.

Mr. Fierke had learned from the Shen Yun performance that some things like gymnastics and acrobatics came from Chinese classical dance. “The Chinese had done it for thousands of years and the rest of us didn’t,” he said with a laugh.

Mr. Grury, a John Deere employee from Iowa, came to see the performance because he is intrigued by Chinese culture. He thought that it might represent the China he would never see. “The performance was interesting and I enjoyed it… I will never get to China even though I would like too. It’s something that I would never ever have a chance to see otherwise,” he said.

Colorful backdrops are projected behind the dancers who are adorned with colorful, striking costumes.

Mr. Grury was fascinated by the colors “because I’m partially colorblind, the costumes were real vivid, so I was able to see a lot more color than I normally do on a daily basis,” he said.

With reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

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