Shen Yun: A Celebration of China’s Cultural Heritage

February 7, 2015 Updated: February 7, 2015

DETROIT—”It was truly wonderful,” said coffee house owner Deanna Yow, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company on Feb. 6.

Owners of Franklin, Michigan’s Farmhouse Coffee and Ice Cream, mother and daughter Deanna and Amanda Yow accompanied each other to this evening’s performance at the Detroit Opera House.

Amanda Yow saw the advertisement for the production last year, was excited about it, wasn’t able to make it, but her mom found out that it was coming back this year and treated her to a night out.

Each season, Shen Yun, puts out an all-new music and dance program. Each performance consists of 20 or so mini-dramas in which performers use the expressive art of classical Chinese dance to retell stories from China’s history, folklore, and mythology. The goal is to revive traditional Chinese culture.

Two years ago Amanda had spent a month touring and traveling China and Mongolia. She felt that tonight’s performance really took her back to China, despite the fact that traditional culture is almost all gone in China today.

In fact, Amanda mentioned that there was a definite contrast between the traditional culture depicted in the Shen Yun performance and what she witnessed in modern China.

The daughter explained: “You don’t see traditional things like that anymore. The only times that I did was when I visited the monasteries and that’s when I saw like people in traditional wear and … having their cultural heritage show through.”

She believes that China’s reclamation of its cultural heritage would be awesome—a really, really good thing.

Therefore in seeing how amazing and talented the dancers were and hearing the erhu (the Chinese two-stringed violin) being played, “It was phenomenal,” she said.

Overall, Amanda was left feeling very happy.

For Deanna, it was really wonderful to see the traditional costumes, hear the music, and be reminded of those few bits of culture she saw from the photos Amanda brought back from China.

Deanna Yow described this evening’s performance as a celebration of China’s heritage. “Because they have so many different cultures and languages within their borders and to see all of the different groups represented was just fantastic. It was just wonderful to see all of them on one stage, all of them together. It was truly wonderful,” she said.

If Amanda had the opportunity to tell her friends in China about Shen Yun she would keep it very light and say that she saw something that shows their heritage, but she would avoid any discussion that could lead to any controversial issues.

Because modern China is governed by the communist regime, many of its ancient traditions, customs, and spiritual beliefs have been suppressed for the last 60 plus years. Even in 2015, in a country as developed as China, people are still persecuted for their beliefs.

She clarified that if she were to bring up how one may gain a sense of this tradition through a Shen Yun performance, it could be problematic for them. “I mean they could get into trouble for talking to me about that. So if I talk to them about it, they can literally be imprisoned or put into concentration camps and things like that,” she said.

Reporting by Valerie Avore and Andrew Darin

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

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