WORCESTER, Mass.—Shen Yun Performing Arts received a special welcome in the “Heart of the Commonwealth” as it kicked off its performances in Massachusett’s second most populous city.
At Shen Yun‘s opening show in Worcester on Oct. 16, Mayor Joseph Petty read out a proclamation in honor of Shen Yun’s arrival at The Hanover Theatre.
Shen Yun has “grown into a household name around the world,” the mayor said in his proclamation.
He commended the performers for their artistry: “Throughout history, almost every culture has looked to the Divine inspiration. Today, Shen Yun artists followed a noble tradition in their daily training, which results in the performance of beauty, purity, and goodness.
“Shen Yun is a show that nourishes the soul,” he added.
Shen Yun, based in New York, tours over 150 cities each year presenting classical Chinese dance and a live orchestra to bring to life 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Its theme adopted for 2021 is “China before Communism,” highlighting the fact that Chinese culture has been drastically distorted in the last 70 years. Since its inception in 2006, Shen Yun has grown to seven touring companies performing in the most prestigious venues globally.
Speaking about his reason for issuing a proclamation, Petty said that in addition to its important mission of preserving the essence of China’s 5,000-year-history for the modern world, Shen Yun also expresses to the world how the Chinese people are just like everybody else.
While not everybody wants the same thing, Petty said, the Chinese people also “want to enjoy the culture and the arts, they want to raise their family, and have a good life.”
Compliments From the Audience
From the moment the curtain went up, Lenny McGuire said his eyes were treated to a feast of beauty and color.
“My eyes!” he said. “Just taking it all in; the color, the sound of the orchestra, and the dancing itself … it was just amazing!”
He was surprised to learn that divinity had been central to the Chinese culture for many millennia and that these spiritual traditions are being persecuted in China today. One of the dance pieces presented a true scenario of religious persecution in modern-day China.
“The story of modern-day China—communism—and the belief in the divinity and how that was against the cultural values and the result of something that really happened—I was fascinated by that,” he said, adding that he’s happy that Shen Yun is trying to bring the culture back.
“I thought the Cultural Revolution destroyed all of this and I’m happy that it’s carrying on in New York!” he said. “I thought some of this may have come back in communist China because I thought they may have loosened up and allowed some of the original culture to come back. But I guess that hasn’t happened.”
Retired school administrator Stephen Martin had seen the ads on television for years and finally got a chance to see Shen Yun perform.
“The choreography is exceptional, the costuming … [I’m] just beyond belief how beautiful it is!” he commented.
“I think one of the highlights was the lovely soprano—her voice was exceptionally beautiful; and the backdrops too, are fascinating … it almost looks like they’re leaping out of the sky.
“They do such a magnificent job of pin point coordination and choreography, and I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of preparation that goes in. I’m so happy that I’ve got to see this.”
Martin said that Chinese culture is “irreplaceable” and hopes that China will one day be free to restore its cultural heritage.
“It’s a blessing to have it continue for all the world to share,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience for everybody.”
Reporting by Ya Wen and Sally Sun.