GUADALAJARA, Mexico—On May 10, Shen Yun Performing Arts concluded its last show of the 2023 season at Conjunto Santander Artes Escenicas in Mexico.
From December 2022 to May 2023, Shen Yun’s eight equally-sized companies traveled across five continents to deliver the beauty of traditional Chinese culture worldwide.
The artists were met with overwhelming welcome and acclaim throughout the nearly 200 cities they visited.
“[The show] gave you warmth inside to watch it,” Delaware state Rep. Paul Baumbach said. “When you have uplifting experiences like the Shen Yun performance, it helps you remember that there is so much good in life.”
He was amazed by “the athleticism and the skill [of the artists] that came from a lifetime of study, devotion, and dedication.”
“It was tremendous to watch and just plain awe-inspiring.”
Shen Yun dancers are highly trained in classical Chinese dance. Dating back thousands of years, it is one of the most athletic and expressive art forms in the world.
Taiwanese dance instructor Weiwei Huang was moved to tears as she sat in the audience watching Shen Yun.
“Their dance skills are of such a high caliber, and they were so synchronized. That’s something all of us dancers continuously strive for but can’t achieve. I want to learn from them,” she said.
Shen Yun “is an expression of the essence and heart of so many artists—the divine must be helping them. They transcend the human world.”
This sentiment was reiterated by Bollywood choreographer Honey Kalaria, who attended a performance at London’s Eventim Apollo.
“It brings so much pleasure to the audience member just to see the gracefulness. It’s like they’re floating … They were absolutely phenomenal. 11 out of 10.”
Former New Zealand deputy prime minister Winston Peters was at a Shen Yun performance in Auckland. He loved every aspect of it. The performance was “brilliant … extraordinary, [and] professionally done,” he said.
“This was a very excellent example of thousands of years of Chinese history and drama … a marvelous imaging and portraying of a critical part of the history of this world.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. It was established in 2006 by leading Chinese artists who had fled persecution of their faith by China’s communist regime.
Following the bloody communist takeover in 1947, Chinese culture suffered through a period of mass destruction.
Now in the free world, these artists are seeking to revive the nation’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture and raise awareness for the human rights issues still ongoing in modern-day China.
For the artists’ commitment to bringing back traditional culture, Italian Councilor Giampiero Leo said Shen Yun is worthy of a Nobel Prize.
“It was moving, exciting—I would not use the word ‘performance,’ [it’s] too modest. It’s a masterpiece,” he exclaimed.
“The show touched on many things that are bygone—chivalry, heroism, the strength of non-violence. It is not cowardice because they are prepared to endure the risks. Shen Yun is bringing that message to the world.”
Cuban human rights activist Rosa Maria Paya, too, believes Shen Yun is an “immense win for the public.”
“It projects an image of China that is unknown for many,” and it is “rescuing values and history that many in the world just ignore,” she said.
“I really love the fact that they’re not only sharing the history of China but also talking to us about what is going on in China right now. That, for me, has immense value.”
Shen Yun tours with a live orchestra. It is the first in the world to permanently combine Western and Chinese instruments within an orchestra.
Using classical Western orchestration as the foundation, Shen Yun’s original compositions highlight traditional Chinese instruments such as the two-stringed erhu and the pipa—an ancient Chinese lute. It brings to the audience the best of both worlds.
Sharon Lee, a co-artistic director of the Toronto Concert Orchestra, was wowed by this unique combination.
“It was beautiful. The orchestra sounded lovely. So well-balanced between the music and the dance—it was a delight to watch. The compositions sounded like they were historically informed and they really evoked that history.”
In the words of renowned Italian tenor Giorgio Casciarri, “This production transpires like a fairytale, and the choreography is beautiful,” he said. “But more than that, it was a bridge to the divine.”
“I want to say ‘keep it up’ to the artistic director because he does not need advice. I want to congratulate him for having such a wonderful team of artists,” he added.
This idea was echoed by award-winning architect Robert Dale Lynch, who said adamantly as he stepped out of the theater, “You can have heaven on earth if you live your life the way Shen Yun is portraying it.”
Alongside classical Chinese, folk, and ethnic dances, as well as solo musical performances, Shen Yun offers story-based pieces that recount tales from ancient times to the modern-day.
This year, it included iconic scenes taken from the Chinese literary classics “Journey to the West,” “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” and other memorable moments in Chinese history.
“[Shen Yun] is a compelling package that’s very entertaining, very informative, quite thought-provoking, and well worth seeing,” expressed Australian federal MP Paul Fletcher.
Referring to Shen Yun’s animated digital backdrop, he said, “The merging of very sophisticated modern multimedia technology with the performers on stage is extremely effective and very cleverly done.”
Oscar-winning film producer Tony Mark would agree.
“I think the use of the screen is brilliant—really brilliant. The way they’ve used [it] is very unusual. They’ve timed it so beautifully—the actors moved in and out of the screen perfectly. It’s like a magic trick but done quite brilliantly,” Mr. Mark said.
According to its website, Shen Yun’s innovative digital technology creates seamless interaction between the backdrop projection and the performers on stage.
“By extending the stage to infinite realms,” this patented 3D invention brings to the audience “storytelling without limits.”
President of the Korean Baduk Federation, Seo Hyoseok, too, was delighted by this creative technology. “It was amazing and very entertaining to see!”
This year marks Mr. Hyoseok’s third time watching Shen Yun, and he was very touched by the traditional values the artists presented.
“The principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—these principles can bring peace to people’s hearts, eliminate hate, and fill our hearts with compassion,” he said.
“This is a culture China can be proud of. I hope Shen Yun’s performance can purify people’s hearts.”
Every year, the performing arts company will return with a brand-new set of choreography, stories, and original compositions.
So, for both new and returning audiences, every trip to Shen Yun is a magical surprise.