Share This Page

Shen Yun show stunning but disconcerting

| Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Shen Yun Performing Arts 'Pheonix.' Credit: Shen Yun

REVIEW

The Shen Yun Performing Arts show on Saturday was both beautiful and disconcerting. The troupe of at least 40 dancers presented more than 20 dances, most of which represented traditional Chinese culture.

The Dance of the Yi People and another representing Mongolian culture were kind of what we expected at the show. The costumes were stunning, and most, particularly with the women dancers, were integral in the eye-popping movements. Sleeves contracted and unfurled, while dresses helped the dancers look like colorful pinwheels. The men displayed impressive acrobatic stunts. A giant video-screen backdrop made the performers appear to fly out of the sky and onto the stage. And the mix of Western and Eastern instruments in the live orchestra was appealing.

The disconcerting part came during two dances that were meant to represent modern-day oppression of the adherents of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). The show went from women dancing while balancing bowls on their head, to a scene where a modern tourist father and daughter are beaten by Chinese officials because they are mistakenly thought to be with a group of Falun Dafa. Shen Yun is presented by the Falun Dafa Association, which clearly has an agenda. Regardless of whether you believe the Falun Dafa is an oppressed spiritual group or a “cult,” as the Chinese government has labeled it, these dances seemed inappropriate in the context of a performance about classical Chinese cultural. If the group felt it needed to make a statement, then it should have let the show's two narrarators relate the Falan Dafa's stand. I don't think surprising audience members with this brutal portrayal will help to gain sympathizers.

— Susan Jones

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.