Boston ‘Honored’ to Welcome Shen Yun

By Phoebe Ryles, Epoch Times
January 25, 2015 7:45 pm Last Updated: January 26, 2015 9:03 pm

BOSTON—Boston welcomed Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Comapany with open arms for its eighth year there, presenting 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through dance and music. This year’s world tour brought five performances to the historic Boston Opera House, Jan. 23–25.

“It was thrilling and beautiful and amazing to see and learn about Chinese culture through music. The choreography was outstanding. It was a really fantastic experience,” said Jessica Rodriguez, vice president of content acquisition at Netflix. She attended the performance with her son Eric, a student of aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Audiences commented on the vibrant costumes, the beauty of the music and the perfect synchronicity of the dancers but Shen Yun is more than a extraordinarily entertaining night on the town—it’s also educational.

“I brought 47 of my students to see the performance today and everybody is amazed,” said Laurie Graf, the owner of the Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Quincy, Mass.

Laurie Graf, dance teacher and owner of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Quincy, Mass., brought 47 of her students to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House, on Jan. 25, 2015, in Boston, Mass. (Stacy Chen/Epoch Times)
Laurie Graf, dance teacher and owner of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Quincy, Mass., brought 47 of her students to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Boston Opera House, on Jan. 25, 2015, in Boston, Mass. (Stacy Chen/Epoch Times)

Through the universal languages of dance and music, Shen Yun gives audiences a glimpse into the ancient culture of China, its myths and legends, its diverse ethnic populations and its deeply spiritual understanding of the world.

“For my students it opened their eyes to something new, and something different,” Ms. Graf said. “This shows them that you can do more: stretch your mind, stretch your imagination, stretch your emotion, when you dance. This is just a great example of what I try to bring to them every week.”

Universal Appeal

Shen Yun is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to introduce the world to China’s rich artistic traditions and judging by the multicultural milieu of the Boston audience, Chinese culture has universal appeal.

David Lee, from Saigon, Vietnam, attended the performance with his fiancée, Jana Masherova, from Brno, Czech Republic and two friends, Gabriel and Jennifer Szabo from Romania and Cape Cod, Mass., respectively.

The friends decided to see Shen Yun just because, “We are friends and it’s a Saturday night,” Mr. Lee said gesturing enthusiastically.

Ms. Masherova, thought it would be a unique performance and she was not disappointed. “Come and see for yourself,” she said.

Mrs. Szabo was impressed that Shen Yun puts on a whole new show every year, ” I am looking forward to seeing another show in another year,” she said.

“The beauty, the colors, the pageantry, the grace, and the story behind it too. It gives an insight into the culture,” said Marshall Ward, a retired Air Force general who is a consultant at John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Mr. Ward traveled from Bedford, N.H. with and his wife Nadja Ward, who is originally from Munich, Germany, to see the performance.

“It was just wonderful. The women, so graceful and the men, very masculine, athletic,” Mrs. Ward said.

Global Recognition

Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in New York and its four company’s tour the world each year, gracing some of the world’s most prestigious stages, from Lincoln Center in New York to the Palais des Congrès de Paris, in France.

Yet they have never performed in mainland China because the communist regime there continues to oppose traditional culture, which it has systematically sought to destroy since coming to power in the 1940s.

“I think it is sad because it is art and it is fascinating and everyone should be entitled to express themselves,” said Debbie Hutchinson, a supervisor at Locke Lord, a Texas-based law firm that recently merged with Boston-based Edwards Wildman Palmer.

Shen Yun honors China’s magnificent ancient culture without turning a blind eye to the country’s present troubles.

“China was once known as the Celestial Empire, its glorious culture said to have been brought down from the heavens. But under the last 60 years of communist rule, the ancient culture has been almost completely destroyed,” the program book explains.

Onstage, however, the richness of Chinese culture is alive and well.

I like the way so many of the dances are based on a story.
— Sarah Castricum
“I like the way so many of the dances are based on a story. They tell a story. That’s another way that I think we learn something of the culture and the bigger picture, as well as the dancing,” said Sarah Castricum, who is an Instructional Designer at Boston College and attended with her husband John Castricum, Sr. Pastor at First Church of Christ in Bedford Mass., and her daughter Emily.

Local Support

Here in Boston, Shen Yun received a warm welcome from audiences as well as city and state leadership.
Boston’s newly elected Mayor, Martin J. Walsh, who won a hotly contested race after Boston’s famed Mayor Menino retired in 2014 after 20 years in office, was enthusiastic in welcoming Shen Yun.

“Boston has a rich tradition of welcoming different cultures and including them in the fabric of our city,” he said in a statement. “It is events like those performed by the Shen Yun Performing Arts Company that help make Boston a vibrant center for the arts.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a statement that it was an “honor” to welcome Shen Yun to Boston. Her sentiments were echoed by three U.S Congressman: Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA.), William R. Keating (D-MA), and Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA).

“Thank you for continuing to bring the artistic interpretations of Chinese culture through dance, music and song to Massachusetts and the region,” U.S. Senator, Edward J. Markey (D-MA.) said in a welcome statement.

With additional reporting by Stacy Chen and Hua Cheng

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.