Renowned Folklore Professor: Reviving China’s Divine Culture is ‘Beautiful, Beautiful’

“Those generations that lose this, I don’t know where they will find it”

Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 21, 2012 Last Updated: December 21, 2012
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Mr. Miguel Angel Elias attended Shen Yun Performing Arts in Buenos Aires. (Federico Zanzottera/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Miguel Angel Elias attended Shen Yun Performing Arts in Buenos Aires. (Federico Zanzottera/The Epoch Times)

BUENOS AIRES— Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company graced the stage at Teatro Ópera Citi on Dec. 19.

Renowned professor in the field of folklore, Miguel Angel Elias, took in the performance and was carried back to his childhood.

“You live searching for something and every story people told you, it’s [there] in your imagination,” he said. “But those who told us things—legends, stories, fairy tales—were older, so sometimes we said they were too old and that makes us [accept] things without explanation.”

“There wasn’t an answer, actually, we didn’t even ask for one, we imagined it all … .”

New York-based Shen Yun’s mission is to revive and impart the 5,000 year old, divinely inspired Chinese culture, which originates from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, the company’s website says.

It also says Shen Yun is the world’s premier of classical Chinese dance and music. “A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization.”

Mr. Elias discovered that the performance evoked a poetic and emotional mood.

He found himself immersed in the dancing, the “magnificent, superb” Shen Yun International Company Orchestra that combines both traditional Chinese and classical Western instruments, sopranos and tenors, solo musicians, dancers, plus colorful digital backdrops and handcrafted costumes.

Classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folkloric traditions are at the heart of Shen Yun which is grounded in the ancient culture, an art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics, the company website says.

“Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power. Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings.”

What struck Mr. Elias the most though, was how Shen Yun traverses the globe every year, stopping in major cities such as London, Paris, Sydney and New York, but cannot at this time travel to China.

Several dance pieces in Shen Yun depict modern day China too showing the persecution of the popular spiritual practice Falun Gong, which is guided by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

The people of China “are missing something,” unable to see the performance there, said Mr. Elias.

“Those generations that lose this, I don’t know where they will find it,” he said. “And recovering it for Western people or for many other nations is beautiful, beautiful.”

Reporting by Julia Cortes and Zachary Stieber.

New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit

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