WASHINGTON— Washington D.C., as the capital of the United States, is not only home to Congress and The White House but also to military institutions, think tanks, the diplomatic corps and a myriad other organizations that require a close location to the seat of government.
It is no wonder then that when Shen Yun Performing Arts tours to D.C. it draws out top level members of all those communities.
It was the New York-based company’s third season at the capital’s Kennedy Center when the 2012 season opened on March 21, and at a VIP reception following the performance was B.J. Penn, former US Navy Secretary in the Department of Defense.
“It was fantastic,” said Mr. Penn, who admitted that the athleticism of the Shen Yun performers had been so impressive, he had felt his age.
“The performance was top notch,” he said.
J.D. Gordon, a former Defense Department spokesman who served under both Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary Robert Gates, was also there. He was exhilarated by the Shen Yun performance, particularly the insights into traditional Chinese culture.
“It was really a wonderful performance,” he said. “I think it was great see the Chinese culture alive here in Washington, 5,000 years to celebrate from all the different regions of China.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
“In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom,” the Shen Yun website says.
Mr. Penn said that he was 25 per cent Chinese so Shen Yun contained a particular significance for him.
“We got so see the different dances and different costumes from all the different regions of China, so that was very special to me,” he said.
In Washington, national security and politics are never far away, so it was fitting that Dr. John Lenczowski attend Shen Yun on opening night.
Dr. Lenczowski is the founder and president of The Institute of World Politics, an independent graduate school of statecraft and national security affairs in Washington, D.C.
The IWP is the “only academic institution dedicated to teaching all the arts of statecraft, including: military strategy, the art of diplomacy; public diplomacy, opinion formation, political warfare; intelligence, counterintelligence, economic strategy, and moral leadership,” the Institute’s website states.
Dr. Lenczowski was succinct in his summation of Shen Yun, describing the evening performance as, “A very rare cultural contribution to the United States and to the world.”
As if to counter the heady intellectual and political environment that is Washington, the capital also has a thriving arts and cultural community.
When maestro Micaele Sparacino, the founder and director of Washington-based, Opera Bel Canto, saw Shen Yun he was effusive about the opera performances describing them as “very high quality.”
“The singers you brought tonight are among the best I have ever heard,” he said. “They could sing easily at the Metropolitan Opera New York City.”
Maestro Sparacino described the opera singers as, “First class talent.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Lillian Chang.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C., from March 21 to April 1.
For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.