Editor and reporter Faisal Qazi said Shen Yun Performing Arts symbolizes the real China after taking in the performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Thursday.
Mr. Qazi, editor of Harbinger Weekly, a Pakistani publication, attended the evening performance with Kami Butt, a reporter for Texas-based publication the Pakistani Spectator.
Shen Yun “is a cultural thing,” said Mr. Qazi. “It’s not Maoist or socialist or anything—it’s actually China, not communist China.”
“This is a different China. This is the China as it was before 1949, and that’s what the original roots are—it’s the spiritual China, which people should know about.”
New York-based Shen Yun is an internationally renowned classical Chinese dance and music company. Formed by overseas Chinese artists, the company’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts.
According to the Shen Yun website, China’s divinely-inspired traditional culture thrived for thousands of years but was nearly destroyed during violent campaigns, such as the Cultural Revolution, waged by the Chinese communist regime.
“For 5,000 years divine culture blossomed in the land of China,” states Shen Yun’s website. “Mankind’s treasure was nearly lost, but through captivating music and dance, Shen Yun is bringing a divine culture back to life.”
Mr. Qazi said Shen Yun was spiritual.
Mr. Butt agreed, saying the performance was an important reminder of universal principles and values to guide one’s life.
“All the people of the world, we’ve become so materialistic, but in the back of our minds we know these [principles],” he said. “But a show like this there’s a common string of belief—whether you’re Chinese, white, black, Muslim, Asian, there’s a common stream.”
Mr. Qazi said one of the most memorable moments in the performance was a dance entitled An Unexpected Encounter which highlights the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong in modern-day China through the story is of a father and daughter.
“It reminded me of how there was opposition to Maoist China, but in Tienanmen massacre we saw people who had nothing to do with counterrevolution but were persecuted. In our part of the world it’s easy to understand how people suffer at the hand of the government,” he said.
Reporting by Yang Chen and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun New York Company is performing in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center Opera House from Jan. 29 through Feb. 3. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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