Chuck Theusch had read plenty about Shen Yun Performing Arts before he came to see one of the performances. The popular classical Chinese dance performance has certainly generated buzz, with reviews abounding online. Reading about it made Theusch interested in what themes would be in the show.
After attending a performance at the Miller High Life Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Feb. 1, 2020, Theusch said the theme was about “light versus dark,” and it resonated deeply with his life and work.
“It’s the universal values that touches me because that is also what I believe,” Theusch said. “It rings true with me.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by artists from around the world who shared a wish to revive traditional Chinese culture. It is a divinely inspired culture that has been under attack in China since the communist regime came to power.
Theusch heads a foundation that builds libraries in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He said he has run into communist groups trying to censor and put out the light, sometimes literally, of the libraries they build.
We live in a world of light versus dark today, Theusch added, and what he saw in the themes of Shen Yun was light.
“It’s really enlightening; it’s also an opera with a message,” Theusch said. He saw themes of being good to one another, turning the other cheek, integrity, and other selfless values that lead to a happy life, themes that Theusch said resonate with people across all religious backgrounds.
“What is enlightening is freedom,” Theusch said. “Freedom is what we fight for.”
Sometimes that fight comes in the form of building a library, and turning on the lights, and suddenly an area that never had access to some information because of its government can “reach out for an openness and a light,” he said.
So in Theusch’s eyes, Shen Yun’s revival of 5,000-year divinely inspired culture rang true.
“I think it’s magnificent,” Theusch said.
On Feb. 1, 2020, David Neese and his wife attended Shen Yun, her Christmas gift to him.
“I love how [Shen Yun] blends the spirituality, humanity, and integrity together,” David Neese said. “Such a rich tradition, of 5,000 years of culture and art like that? Spectacular. Love the stories, loved the way they were acted out, it was just great.”
“The orchestra is spectacular, I enjoyed hearing the Chinese instruments—I play brass myself—and it was just, it was tremendous,” said Neese, who plays with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin’s oldest continually active orchestra which has been performing concerts since 1918.
“There is a higher power. This something that creates in us, this artistic gift we give to others, that’s what touched me,” Neese said.
NTD News, Milwaukee, United States