(L–R) Kerstin Sandberg and Melissa Christophersen Redmill were so impressed after seeing Shen Yun four years ago that the friends felt they had to see it again. The pair enjoyed the second performance at the Ohio Theatre on May 6, 2017. (NTD Television)
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Semi-professional singer Melissa Christophersen Redmill has been singing since the age of 5, is classically trained, and has sung in many languages. She was thoroughly impressed with all she had seen and heard at Shen Yun Performing Arts, especially the singing.
She loved the song by soprano, whose voice she found very powerful: “I’ve sung in Chinese before, and it is so different from singing from English or French or German or other languages. It is very difficult and the vowels and the speech of the Chinese is so interesting.”
Ms. Redmill would have liked to have heard another song, or to look again at one of the stories told by the classical Chinese dancers. Actually, she said she’d like to see the whole show again for she was as impressed with the dancers as with the singers.
Accompanying Ms. Redmill to the Ohio Theatre on May 6 was her mother-in-law, and also her friend Kerstin Sandberg, a clerk for Huntington National Bank. Ms. Sandberg received the Shen Yun ticket from Ms. Redmill as a birthday present. The two friends had seen the performance together once before, about four years ago.
“It left such a good impression on me … that she gave it to me again this year as another birthday present. … It’s hard really to describe—just because it’s so awe-inspiring,” Ms. Sandberg said.
“I have been talking about it ever since,” Ms. Redmill said. “I am like, ‘Oh, we have to come back, we have to come back.’”
Ms. Sandberg acknowledged the dancers’ elegance coupled with strength. “I used to do competitive swimming, so I used to be an athlete. … I saw the same performers coming out again and again, and again, so I understand how much endurance and how exhausting that is. But they really just did a perfect job and could come out and come perform again and again, and again and again, and again. It’s very impressive,” she said of the more than 15 dance pieces she had seen.
Shen Yun relies on classical Chinese dance to bring 5,000 years of Chinese culture to life in short dances.
“I just feel very light-hearted, happy, [and] positive, after watching this,” Ms. Sandberg said.
“I loved how it was telling stories and sharing the history and the dance and ... everything—just came together, sharing the story. And I felt my heart, that was in each story that was shown on the stage tonight. It was beautiful,” she said.
“[In] one of the stories, you are going to a totally different dimension, you are in a different dimension, a different time, and it just transports you somewhere, into the past, or even into the future. It is beautiful,” she said.
Many of the dances tell stories that give glimpses into China’s history of its past and events unfolding today as well as it’s mythology and spiritual beliefs.
The ladies each carried away a different yet profound theme they felt was embedded in stories they’d seen.
For Ms. Sandberg the performance emphasized personal liberties and religious freedom. It also projected the idea of unity and “just a very positive message about humanity in general.” Some of the dances depicting current events show people of faith persecuted under the communist regime.
Ms. Redmill, on the other hand, focused on the spirituality represented on stage. She thought its theme was that we could all be one as we were once created, and that god’s creation of the world was being celebrated.
“It’s interesting to see the heavenly part of the story and Buddha coming down. I was really touched by the Buddha coming down. It was beautiful. … That we all come from divine, and from the heavens, I was touched by that, when they said that.”
“I was amazed,” she said.
With reporting by Sharon Kilarski and NTD Television.
With five touring companies performing simultaneously around the world, New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to revive China’s nearly lost traditional performing arts and time-honored values.
The Epoch Times, considering Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time, has proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.