WORCESTER, Mass.—After an evening with Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at the The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, John and Vera Peterson said they hoped to bring their grandchildren to enjoy next year’s performance in Boston.
They “would love it,” said Mr. Peterson, owner of a real estate brokerage business. Mr. Peterson described Shen Yun as “a beautiful fantasy, and an opportunity to see Chinese culture.”
He and his wife—and seven others from their Rotary group—came to experience the Thursday evening performance of classical Chinese dance and music.
The state-of-the-art digital-backdrops caught Mr. Peterson’s eye. He was impressed by “the beauty of the movement, and the costumes, and the excitement of the video interaction with the dancers.”
Mrs. Peterson also praised the costumes and the backdrop graphics technology. She said the screen was beautiful, the technical part was amazing, and she didn’t know how they did it.
But what left Mr. and Mrs. Peterson puzzled, was to discover that Shen Yun performances cannot take place inside modern day China. Why would they not allow Shen Yun, a performance they enjoyed and felt was wonderful?
If asked “what it would take to change the world?” a Rotary member might quote the organization’s motto: “Service Above Self.”
“‘Why can’t a Chinese cultural show be seen in its homeland?’” the Shen Yun website asks. “The explanation dates back to the Cultural Revolution and systematic attempts to wipe out the heritage of 5,000 years of civilization. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture,” the website states.
The Petersons, and fellow Rotarians, experienced firsthand how New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts ‘serves others,’ a performance where heroes are extolled for their compassion and tolerance as much as their courage or determination when facing adversity.”
Shen Yun is currently unable to perform in Mainland China, because of restrictions placed on artists under communist rule.
To Mr. Peterson, Shen Yun “was a fantasy,” and one that he and his wife hope their grandchildren will have the opportunity to see soon.
Reporting by Hua Chang and Adam Miller.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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