On March 3, Shen Yun Performing Arts performed for the first time in Tampa, Fla. The New York-based company’s aim is to restore traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts. The Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company opened to a sold-out Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and is preparing for two more sold-out performances during the afternoon and evening of Sunday, March 4.
This is the fifth consecutive year Shen Yun has toured in Florida, with previous performances in Orlando, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Fort Lauderdale.
Beyond Florida, Shen Yun has toured around the globe, to cities such as Berlin, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Sydney. Every year, Shen Yun presents a new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores.
Tonight, Shen Yun touched the theatergoers at the Straz Center in Tampa Bay with its colorful presentation of classical Chinese dance and music. Adam Becker, lieutenant-colonel in the United States military, described Shen Yun as “absolutely wonderful.”
Lt. Col. Becker said, “I had heard a lot about the show before it came here … the dancing is excellent, superb. And in its uniquely Chinese and ethnic balance, it is wonderful.”
According to the Shen Yun website, “A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization.”
“The array, one small act to the next, there is a sequence, there is a theme, and it is definitely noticeable,” said Mr. Becker, of his experience with Shen Yun.
Every Shen Yun performance incorporates stories and legends that span Chinese history. Chinese history has been preserved and passed down for 5,000 years, so Shen Yun has a documented resource, which allows it to revive ancient culture on today’s modern-day stage.
“The references to Falun Gong are extraordinarily exciting to see,” Mr. Becker said, referring to China’s current history. “And it was a pleasure to see that they brought that delicately to the dance expression. Very nice.”
Mr. Becker expressed his love for the region and for Chinese history. He said, “I appreciate Chinese history—as much as one can of one who is not Chinese. It is very exciting to me.”
“I’d like to think that, little by little—for Americans who don’t have my background—this is a tactful way to slowly introduce them, in a pretty way, to exactly how [Chinese history] unfolds.”
Honoring Shen Yun’s arrival in Tampa Bay, the Falun Dafa Association of Florida, the sponsoring organization, received letters of welcome from Florida officials including: Gov. Rick Scott, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, Tampa City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda, Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Kathy Castor, Sen. Arthenia Joyner, Sen. Jim Norman, Rep. Janet Cruz, Rep. James W. Grant, Rep. Peter Nehr, and Rep. Betty Reed.
Reporting by Sally Sun and Adam Miller.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. After the Tampa engagement, Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will next perform in Memphis, Tenn.
For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.