Shen Yun’s Efforts to Revive Chinese Culture Important, Says Academic

February 16, 2014

ST. LOUIS—Ness Sandoval, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis University, highly enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts’ portrayal of modern day China.

Mr. Sandoval attended the performance with his wife, Kasia, at the Peabody Opera House on Sunday, Feb. 16.

“I enjoyed it; I thought it was very well done; very entertaining,” Mr. Sandoval said about Shen Yun.

Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed by a group of leading classical Chinese artists with a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture.

The company presents classical Chinese dance and music, and takes audiences on a journey through China’s millennia old history and culture.

“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” explains the Shen Yun website.

“But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience.”

Shen Yun programs also feature dance performances about modern day China ruled by the communist regime.

Mr. Sandoval said those pieces particularly stood out for him.

“They were very moving for me in terms of the freedom of expression,” he said.

According to the Shen Yun website, “Forcing atheism upon society, the Chinese Communist Party has for decades launched various campaigns—most notably the Cultural Revolution—to destroy not only cultural sites, temples, and relics, but also the Chinese people’s belief in virtue and faith in the divine.”

Mr. Sandoval said Shen Yun’s efforts to revive China’s traditional culture was very important.

“I don’t think a lot of people … realize what the Cultural Revolution is about in China. I think we understand China at contemporary times since 1960s, I don’t think a lot of Americans understand China pre-1960s, or even the 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” Mr. Sandoval said.

“We cannot just view China very modernly … I think a lot of Americans don’t understand what cultural revolution was about in terms of getting rid of this type of performance and artistry.”

Expressing her appreciation of the show, Mrs. Sandoval added that she could see themes of the connection between the divine and earth in the performance.

“You can see how everything comes together. I really enjoyed it; it was a good show,” Mrs. Sandoval said.

She said she could relate what she saw in the performance to her own beliefs about how people “shouldn’t be attached to the earthly life because life is passing on,” and we should try to cultivate our relationship with the Creator.

Reporting by Cara Ye and Omid Ghoreishi

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

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.


St. Louis, United States
Shen Yun New York Company