Posted by Mark Weber

Pingping Yu: Shen Yun Performing Arts

Eden Prairie A.M. Rotary’s program on Jan. 14 had Pingping Yu talking about how the touring Shen Yun music and dance program coming to Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul on Feb. 20-23 is preserving ancient Chinese culture at a time when China’s leadership over the last 70 years has erased much of it.
A community outreach volunteer for Shen Yun, she explained that the organization is a 14-year-old nonprofit that started in New York that now has seven touring companies performing in 150-plus cities and reaching more than 1 million viewers per season. Shen Yun is known for the colorful and athletic dance numbers that present traditional Chinese culture over 5,000 years – a period during which China had 25 dynasties and 800-plus emperors.
Yu says the performances to music provided by a live orchestra serve to remind viewers of China’s ancient belief in Dao and Tao, also referred to “the path” and “the way” to enlightenment and connection to ancestors in higher spiritual realms.
It’s her contention that the Communist era has been the polar opposite of what existed before, and one of the leading victims has been China’s ancient culture. But Yu is hopeful, as she views Shen Yun as the beginning of a cultural renaissance. You can learn more about Shen Yun and its performances at


  • Upcoming programs include TV sports broadcaster Joe Schmit on Jan. 21, Scheels store leader Jason Heintz on Jan. 28, and the Anderson Family of Fat Pants Brewing on Feb. 4.
  • The next meeting of EP AM Rotary Women is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Irene Kelly’s home.
  • club members are encouraged to participate in the Beer Pong fundraising event being held Jan. 25 at the Eden Prairie Community Center by the Eden Prairie Noon Rotary Club. For more information, visit their website or check with A.M. Rotary’s Jane McGinty.

Spotlight on Blake Cadwallader

Club member Blake Cadwallader offered his vocational, sharing that he was born in Homer, NY, which is not far from Syracuse. His father was a veterinarian and Blake was a high school wrestler recruited by Lehigh University but injured shortly thereafter. He moved to Minnesota to work in the insurance agency and since 2002 has been with Woodhill Financial, where he specializes in underwriting health and life insurance. He has four children and this interesting side gig where he is a “secret shopper” assigned to taste food and report back on quality, etc.

Happy Fines

We’re happy and we’ll happily pay to share our stories. Roger Jorgensen is happy about the good connections made at Rotary, including his recent work with John Estall to sell raffle tickets in front of Scheels. Dan O’Brien is tickled about a grandson’s continuing conversation with a speech-recognition device called Alexa, including his, “I’m leaving now, Alexa; you stay here.” John Crudele is happy to report on the impact that a recent Rotary project trip to Guatemala had on him.


Clementine Depierpont - RYE Student
Kevin Gao - Student Intern