Traditional Culture and History Interesting to Family

February 20, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS—The matinee show by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Orpheum Theater drew one particular family who has a deep interest in Chinese culture.

Faith Whelan, from Woodbury, Minn. brought her two sons, 8-year old Rowan and 5-year old Mils to see the performance on Feb. 20. Both boys attend Ying Hua Academy, which according to its website, is a “bilingual, bi-cultural and bi-literate English and Chinese educational experience.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the New York-based Shen Yun’s mission is to share through the universal language of dance and music 5,000 years of authentic traditional Chinese culture.

Shen Yun’s story telling comes from classical Chinese, folk, and ethnic dancing and the original orchestra music combining the sounds of Eastern and Western instruments, and magical state-of-the-arts backdrops.

Classical Chinese dance has evolved over thousands of years and was “passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera. It is an incredibly demanding, refined, and expressive dance form. Alongside ballet, it is also one of the most comprehensive dance systems known to humankind,” states the Shen Yun website.

Ms. Whelan found Shen Yun’s journey of traditional culture very interesting including an introduction of ethnic groups such as Mongolians and Tibetans, China’s 5,000 year old history, and an introduction to various dynasties.

China has 55 ethnic groups. Their ethnic and folk dances are rooted in popular local traditions, and can be specifically recognized in the dance world.

Another distinct feature of traditional Chinese culture, which was reflected in the mini-dance stories of Shen Yun, was the belief in the divine. For thousands of years the culture was divinely inspired and corresponding universal values such as loyalty, compassion, and beliefs that good is rewarded and evil is punished.

It surprises many people to learn that Shen Yun cannot perform in China. This is due to the communist party’s anti-tradition campaigns and national atheism.

Another point of interest for Ms. Whelan was “how crushing communism has been to the arts and culture in China,” she said.

“This whole show apparently would not be allowed in China today. We talked about that a lot—how amazing the culture and the people are—but how they have such an oppressive government, one party system, over there right now,” said Ms. Whelan.

“I appreciate the fact that they [Shen Yun] are opposing atheism and how, the way atheism has been used to crush the spirit of the Chinese people and to control them as well,” she said.

The next cities that Shen Yun will be performing in the United States are Springfield, IL, on Feb. 24, at the Sangamon Auditorium, and Cincinnati, OH, on Feb. 27, at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Reporting by Valorie Avore and Cat Rooney

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.

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.