This weekend, March 5th-6th, a unique classical Chinese dance and music show is being held at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC) in the UK. Called Shen Yun, it is returning to the ICC for the third year running.
The show is presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company, one of four companies that make up New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts. These companies tour the world for about six months each year visiting more than 100 cities.
Every year, a completely new programme of dance and music is created. The main aim, however, is the same: to revive traditional Chinese culture by drawing on 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation.
More than 15 different pieces are performed, some telling stories from China’s past. Others are folk and ethnic dances. Each one is accompanied by a live orchestra combining Western and Chinese instruments, and a digital animated backdrop.
Interspersed among the dances are solo vocal or instrumental pieces.
The Shen Yun website explains the values the show embodies: “Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience,” it says. “Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
An audience member from last year’s Birmingham performance, head teacher Sofina Islam OBE, tried to explain her feelings after the show: “It’s an amazing show. The artistry behind it is amazing. Words can’t describe it! You have to see something like this to believe and understand its impact on the audience and those who are watching.”
This year, both performances of the show at the ICC are sold out, giving 3,000 people the opportunity to experience the event for themselves.
The ICC is a world class venue located in the heart of Birmingham, a diverse city of more than 1 million people and the UK’s second largest after London.
After Birmingham, Shen Yun travels to Aix-en-Provence in France and then Frankfurt in Germany.
When the European tour is complete in mid-April, it will have performed in 14 cities in 10 countries.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.