After a week of frigid weather, Omaha has warmed up just in time for Shen Yun’s arrival.
Nebraska’s leaders wrote letters of recommendation welcoming Shen Yun to Nebraska. Some included Governor Pete Ricketts, Congressman Don Bacon, Senators Jim Scheer and Tony Vargas, and the Mayor of Omaha, Jean Stothert.
Here’s how audience members enjoyed the New York Company’s performance at the Orpheum Theater.
Stephen Jones, a cybersecurity manager at Information Systems Security for the Department of Defense, attended an afternoon performance with his daughter. It left him wondering what life was like back in ancient China.
“I did a lot of daydreaming … when I was watching the performers just thinking, oh my gosh, what it must have been like, you know. So, for them to do that to the audience was very impressive,” he said.
Preserving Traditional Chinese Culture
China has over 5,000 years of culture that has been preserved through classical Chinese dance. The art form itself is versatile, allowing for a wide range of expressions to convey stories from history.
“I think one of the things that excited me most about the culture was they were able to express it visually through their dance, which makes it a little more emotional than reading about it, or studying about it or even seeing it on TV,” said Jones. “The expression was beautiful.”
“The beauty of the culture, it’s so diverse,” said John Hudson, a hospital administrator at Omaha VA Hospital. “The history, the long history, we don’t think about that in the United States. There you have thousands of years of history and we only have hundreds, so it’s really cool.
“The performers made it very clear in reference to what the storyline was and what as an audience you should grasp emotionally and has an impact, said Penny Flavell, transportation manager of Nebraska Furniture Mart. “So it was beautifully done.”
“It was my dad’s idea to come, so we’re very excited,” said Rochelle Mullen a lawyer at Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather. “The dancing is amazing, the colors are amazing. The choreography, and people flying into the sky are amazing.
“So coming from here, we just see beautiful dancing and try to understand the culture but I didn’t understand your [Chinese] culture is going away.”
Reviving a Lost Heritage
In the last 60-plus years, much of the culture was forgotten after the Chinese communist regime treated traditional Chinese belief in the divine as a threat to its existence. Based in New York, Shen Yun has the freedom to revive this almost lost heritage through dance and music.
“I’m very impressed that, publicly, they were able to express not just God but divine belief, that we can believe in a higher power or that we can believe in a higher form of self expression,” said Jones. “And that it’s OK, we can all get along with each other and enjoy each other’s company, and coexist with each other.”
A Man’s Long Journey to Experience Culture
Trevor Matuszewski, an engineer in the telecom industry, traveled almost 300 miles from a small town to see Shen Yun.
“They’re incredibly dedicated, professional,” he said. “I’ve never seen such young people do such things that are beyond their years and they’re expressing emotions and a knowledge that usually takes to be when you’re like 50 years old to understand.”
Matuszewski’s impression of ancient Chinese culture after watching the performance, is one of understanding and harmonizing with nature. He thought that one of the most horrible things that happened was when communism took over China.
“It’s as if something came in like a parasite or a wasp and wiped it out and replaced it with a foreign entity,” he said. “It’s not of the Chinese. The Chinese had a culture that was divinely inspired. It was thought harnessed to nature and it was kind of an expression of life.”
When asked what impacted him most, he replied with something more profound.
“The power of light to overcome darkness and oppression and to come out on the other side with more wisdom and with more understanding. And no matter what trials we go through, as long as we persevere, it is those that are blessed, it is those who would gain enlightenment once they go through the darkness.”
NTD News, Omaha, Nebraska