New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts will conclude its 2012 World Tour engagements in Florida with three performances at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on March 3 and 4. With just a few days before curtain time, all performances are fast approaching sold-out status.
Shen Yun performed four shows at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, in Fort Lauderdale, Feb. 10–12. This is Shen Yun’s fifth consecutive year to perform in South Florida.
As theatergoers await Shen Yun’s arrival on Florida’s West Coast, federal, state, and local officials sent letters welcoming Shen Yun’s return to the Tampa Bay region. The company last performed in the area in 2010, at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
Tampa Bay is a metropolitan region including the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, with each having a population of over 100,000 residents. Tampa Bay is the largest television market in the state.
Many of Tampa’s cultural centers, including the Straz Center, are located downtown along the Hillsborough River. The U.S. Census Bureau recently named the Tampa area one of the top five most diverse, integrated urban areas in the country, and American Style Magazine recognized Tampa as a “Top Arts Destination.”
‘Human Dignity and Virtue’
Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, welcomed Shen Yun to the metropolitan area: “Celebrating the excellence and grandeur of classical Chinese dance and music, Shen Yun endeavors to renew a cultural tradition that honors human dignity and virtue.”
The Shen Yun website describes a Shen Yun performance as “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.”
Bob Buckhorn, mayor of Tampa, recognized Shen Yun for sharing “the rich heritage of our Chinese citizens.” “It is sure to be a performance long-remembered by all those in attendance,” he wrote.
The mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster, congratulated Shen Yun Performing Arts on behalf of the citizens, writing, “We are privileged to have you here.”
In his welcome letter, Tampa City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda described Shen Yun’s performances of classical Chinese dance and music as “colorful and exhilarating.”
“Welcome to the Sunshine State!” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson wrote. “Congratulations on the 2012 World Tour! Your dedication to preserving classical Chinese dance and music is impressive.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor wrote, “It is a privilege for audiences here in Tampa to be able to witness and be inspired by this impressive display of cultural heritage and tradition.”
Rich Cultural Heritage
Tampa Bay & Company, a not-for-profit organization that promotes economic development through tourism, has named Tampa “a multi-cultural hotbed.”
State Sen. Arthenia Joyner referred to Tampa’s “rich multi-cultural heritage all its own” in her letter. “We welcome you to our city and look forward to enjoying this demonstration of China’s ancient cultural heritage and universal values,” she wrote.
State Rep. Betty Reed commended the overseas Chinese artists who “felt it noteworthy to establish Shen Yun in New York, 2006, in order to restore and revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese traditional culture.”
Additional letters of welcome came from state Sen. Jim Norman and state Reps. Janet Cruz, James W. Grant, and Peter Nehr.
It was state Rep. James W. Grant’s “sincere pleasure to welcome Shen Yun Performing Arts.” “Shen Yun provides a fascinating insight into the beauty of ancient Chinese culture,” he wrote.
Shen Yun Performing Arts will give an evening performance on Saturday, March 3, and matinee and evening performances on Sunday, March 4, at the Straz Center.
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.