BOSTON—Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, will return to Boston this weekend, starting Friday, Feb. 28, for four performances at the Citi Wang Theatre as part of its 2014 World Tour. The company kicked off the New England leg of the tour last weekend in Providence, R.I., and will also perform in Waterbury, Conn., next weekend.
Based in New York and formed in 2006 by a group of artists with a mission to revive 5,000 years of China’s divinely inspired culture, Shen Yun Performing Arts now has four touring companies currently gracing the world’s top venues. Each touring company has its own live orchestra, and each year, Shen Yun has an all-new production of original music and dance, with new, brilliantly colored costumes and vividly animated digital backdrops.
Massachusetts officials welcomed Shen Yun’s annual return to the state with letters of greeting and well wishes. Gov. Deval Patrick wrote: “On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I send warm greetings. … Welcome to Boston!”
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, also pleased to welcome the company to Boston, wrote: “I am thrilled that we have been chosen to host such a spectacular performance.”
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch welcomed Shen Yun to Massachusetts, saying: “The Shen Yun Performing Arts delights its audiences with a symphony orchestra, incredible vocalists, and elegant dancers. The culture and rich history of China come to life in their renowned and acclaimed performances.”
“It is my pleasure to welcome you Shen Yun 2014 to Massachusetts!” wrote U.S. Sen. Edward Markey. “This annual series showcases incredible traditional Chinese music and dance.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in her letter, “It is a privilege to have such an extraordinary display of Chinese music and dance here in our communities.”
At the heart of Shen Yun is the system of classical Chinese dance. Built on traditional aesthetics and “known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” states the Shen Yun website.
Classical Chinese dance was passed down and constantly refined over the centuries—among the people, in imperial courts, and through ancient plays, “eventually developing into the vast and distinctly Chinese dance form we know today,” according to the website.
U.S. Rep. William Keating said it was his privilege to welcome Shen Yun Performing Arts to the state. In his letter, he wrote: “It is a rare and wonderful opportunity for the people of Massachusetts to experience this incredible art form.”
Another of the elements that make a Shen Yun performance so extraordinary is the music. The Shen Yun Orchestra is a blending of the classical music traditions of East and West, with ancient Chinese instruments like the erhu and pipa leading the melody on top of a full Western orchestra, including strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.
“The Western orchestra with its energy and grandeur, and the Chinese instruments with their distinct tones and styles, create a dramatic new sound,” explains the Shen Yun website.
In addition, vocal soloists present several original song selections in Chinese, with English translations of the lyrics projected onto the backdrop. These singers are unparalleled in their ability to use the challenging bel canto technique while retaining proper Chinese pronunciation and diction, according to the website.
In his letter of greeting, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch wrote: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Shen Yun Performing Arts to Boston. The Shen Yun dance company is unique, entertaining, and enhances the ethnic and cultural diversity in Massachusetts.”
U.S. Rep. James McGovern, in his greeting, said, “Shen Yun does an invaluable job” in bringing the rich history of Chinese culture “to a wide audience across the Commonwealth and the country.”
“Massachusetts is lucky to have such a valuable facilitator of history and culture once again spending time in our state,” he said.
First Stop: Rhode Island
Last weekend, on Feb. 22 and 23, Shen Yun visited Providence, R.I., as the first stop on its New England tour. Rhode Island officials extended their congratulations, appreciation, and well wishes.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed welcomed the company to the state with a letter of greeting that stated: “Shen Yun helps to preserve China’s rich history and share it with people from around the world.”
“I am pleased to welcome Shen Yun Performing Arts to Rhode Island and extend my best wishes to all of those attending and participating in the performance,” he wrote.
U.S. Rep. James Langevin wrote: “Over the years, you have grown to become the world’s premier Chinese music and dance company, and we are thrilled to have you here” in Providence, the state capital. “Rhode Island is honored to be included as a destination stop on the 2014 World Tour.”
Newport Mayor Henry Winthrop wrote in his letter of welcome, “We are honored to have this internationally renowned classical Chinese dance and music company, whose founding mission is to revive 5,000 years of civilization, come to our state to perform again at the magnificent Providence Performing Arts Center.” He said, “We are privileged and delighted to welcome you.”
And the audiences attending the two performances at PPAC were indeed delighted. One audience member, a former dancer who attended on Sunday, said it was “beautiful Chinese art at its optimal level” and summed it up in two words: “exquisite, beautiful.”
After Boston, Shen Yun’s visit to New England will conclude later in the week with three shows in Waterbury, Conn., on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.