US General Honored to be at Shen Yun

March 23, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Brigadier General Jorge D. Riojas and his wife Susan attended the 2012 premier of Shen Yun in Washington D.C., at The Kennedy Center March 21. (Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—Brigadier General Jorge D. Riojas and his wife Susan were at the 2012 premiere of Shen Yun Performing Arts in Washington D.C. at The Kennedy Center on March 21.

Brig. Gen. Jorge Riojas is an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs and has a long and distinguished career in the military.

“It’s an honor to be here,” he said at the VIP reception following Shen Yun’s performance. “It was a wonderful evening.”

A New York based-company, Shen Yun aims to restore traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts.

Formed in 2006, Shen Yun has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, each constituting a classical Chinese dance company, a full orchestra combining traditional Chinese with classical Western instruments, and world-class opera singers.

Brig.Gen. Riojas said he was not an artist or a performer himself but he could “fully appreciate” the exceptional performance from Shen Yun.

“The way it came together, the music, the dancing, the choreography and the technology, where the screen blended with the human performing on the stage,” he said. “It was really beautiful.”

Shen Yun incorporates digital technology to enhance the telling of ancient Chinese myths and legends. Animated backdrops transport the audience to worlds of “blossoming landscapes, deep forests, Mongolian prairies, or celestial paradises,” explains the Shen Yun website.

Brig.Gen. Riojas was particularly impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the dancers.

“The dancers were beautiful. They made it look easy, and I know it wasn’t easy, but it was obvious that they are dedicated professionals who have trained and practiced for many hours,” he said. “It paid off because it was a first-class performance.”

Traditional Chinese culture was all but destroyed after 60 years of communist party rule and the Cultural Revolution in China, and Shen Yun is not able to tour to the mainland under the present regime.

Brig.Gen. Riojas remarked on the openness of the Shen Yun performers and the accessibility he felt in their presentation of traditional Chinese culture.

“It was very open,” he said, “you can sit there and appreciate not just the colors but the whole idea that people want to express themselves in a way that is very welcoming for others to enjoy.”

With his military background, he also noted the conflicts and resolutions in Chinese history that were presented in the performance, saying it was about “good people trying to do the right thing.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Lillian Chang

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at The Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C., through April 1.

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