Watching Shen Yun Is the Best Way to Learn Chinese Culture, Photographer Says

May 5, 2019

HONOLULU—Shen Yun Performing Arts delighted theater-goers in Honolulu, Hawaii, as the company brought its mix of traditional Chinese dance and music to the island.

“I really enjoyed the show, the representation of Chinese culture,” said Michael Guigui, a photographer, who saw the opening-day performance at Blaisdell Concert Hall on May 4.

The New York-based classical Chinese dance company is amidst its 2019 world tour, performing across four continents with the aim to restore 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the arts.

Guigui brought his Chinese mother to see the performance. This year was his second time seeing the company. He returned because he is interested in learning about the culture, which part of his heritage.

“I loved the expression through the motions. Even though I don’t speak Chinese and there is no speech in it, you can see the culture and the flowing movements; I really enjoy it,” he said.

Along with the various clothing styles worn in different dynasties, Guigui said he learned about the belief systems underpinning China’s ancient culture—one said to be divinely-inspired.

Traditional Chinese culture is rooted in belief in the divine, manifested in the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, which shaped the way Chinese people behaved and viewed the world. Values and ideas such as righteousness, benevolence, and loyalty were observed throughout society for thousands of years, passed down in the stories and texts from generation to generation.

However, such beliefs were destroyed after the Chinese communist regime took control of the country some seven decades ago, leading to series of campaigns aimed at replacing China’s traditional ideas with atheistic communist dogma.

Guigui thought the meaning of Shen Yun—the beauty of divine beings dancing—was apt to describe the power of physical movement.

Sometimes speech and the written word cannot capture what you want to express, he said.

“Sometimes it goes beyond words. You have to find a way to express it. Sometimes dance is the only way,” Guigui said.

The photographer was glad he returned to watch the performance, adding that he would like to watch it again next year to see what’s new.

“If you’re not familiar with Chinese culture, this is the best way to familiarize yourself with it,” he said.

“And I think it’s important for culture not to die out there. So many cultures that are dying out and being lost. Information is being lost. This is one of the best ways to be a part of culture before it fades.”

With reporting by Sally Sun.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.

Honolulu, United States
Shen Yun World Company