CHEYENNE, Wyo.—State Rep. Dan Zwonitzer came to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Cheyenne Civic Center and he did not hesitate to share his appreciation for Shen Yun sharing the beauty of China’s 5,000 years of civilization with Wyoming.
“I just think everybody should see the show. I know it’s come to Cheyenne twice, and as a representative of Wyoming and the longest-serving elected official in this county, I’m just really proud to have an event like this come to my home community to bring some of that culture, those arts, those dancing—things we don’t get a lot of here in Wyoming. So it’s just been really special to see the crowds here tonight. I’ve been amazed how many people showed up to watch this kind of performance,” said Rep. Zwonitzer.
Shen Yun is based in New York and it is dedicated to sharing genuine Chinese culture with audiences around the world.
“Wyoming has a great history with the Chinese people. It was great to get a piece of that culture and that history that Shen Yun brings, even to places like Wyoming [which] probably don’t always get that level of culture. So super excited that Shen Yun came all the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and showed us some of the traditions of China,” said Rep. Zwonitzer.
Despite Shen Yun’s efforts to present the beauty of China to the world, Shen Yun is not able to perform in China.
“I think it’s really powerful and important to connect with your old traditions and to have some level of religiosity, because it ties in with your culture—certainly the Chinese traditions that are based on religion. And what you’re seeing today is present-day China and communism squashing out some of that culture, that ancient tradition and dance that the people had. So it is nice that we’re trying to revive it and keep it alive even in this day and age,” commented Rep. Zwonitzer.
Shen Yun’s performance focuses mainly on China before communism, although one dance depicts Falun Gong practitioners who refuse to give in despite facing persecution.
“I’ve had some friends who were Falun Gong over the past 30 years so [I’m] certainly aware of the persecution ongoing and the difficulties. So things like this keep the movement alive and strong and going and [helps us] understand that that faith [and] tradition remain alive and [is] competing with what you’re seeing in present-day China. I think keeping that message strong is powerful and bringing it to middle America so we understand some of that religious persecution that’s going on still today is important,” expressed Rep. Zwonitzer.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice consisting of simple, slow-moving meditation exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It grew in popularity during the 1990s, with 70 million to 100 million adherents in China by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.
Feeling threatened by its popularity, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a systematic elimination campaign in July 1999. Since then, millions have been detained inside prisons, labor camps, and other facilities, with hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
In order to put on a flawless performance, Shen Yun’s artists rehearse tirelessly to iron out even the smallest crinkles.
“That kind of movement takes years of practice and dedication. And so when you see a performance I think people forget how much time and practice and effort that takes. So for those dancers day in and day out to do this on a weekly basis, it’s really impressive and top shape,” said Rep. Zwonitzer.
Classical Chinese dance is based on form, bearing, and technique. Although many of the techniques used look like gymnastics, it actually originates from classical Chinese dance.
“That men’s dance really got me. I was just shocked [at] how many times they could twirl and jump and fall and not hurt themselves. So I think that was my favorite,” expressed Rep. Zwonitzer.
Each of Shen Yun’s eight companies has its own live orchestra. Shen Yun’s resident composers work closely with the dancers and the orchestras to create music that fits each dance like a glove.
“The orchestra has been great and how it coordinates with the dance movement. People think it’s probably easy to do, but that is so flawless on how those dance rhythms hit exactly with the instrumental notes. And so it has been impressive to kind of forget the orchestra is there, until you get some of those timpani or trombone beats and you’re like, oh yeah, orchestra. So I have been impressed with the music as well,” commented Rep. Zwonitzer.
Shen Yun’s singers are trained in the bel canto technique. With the help of the digital backdrop, audiences of any nationality can understand the text being sung by reading the translation.
“I was caught up in her singing so much. It was great,” said Rep. Zwonitzer.
The digital backdrop does a lot more than provide translations. With this patented technology, Shen Yun’s artists are able to travel anywhere imaginable within seconds.
“That was kind of awesome, right? How they just kind of morph into the background and come out and it just makes for an enjoyable experience. I really was impressed how that screen works and how the dancers interact with it,” said Rep. Zwonitzer.
Being here with his daughter this evening, Rep. Zwonitzer added that it was a great family experience and he’d be glad to return next time Shen Yun comes to Cheyenne.
“If Shen Yun comes back to Cheyenne I will definitely come again and bring more family members and really encourage participation to watch this amazing program,” he said.
Reporting by NTD and Maria Han
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.