“[It’s] just unusual that you can't see this in China. It was interesting; we love it.”
“I like the costumes. Costumes are great. Plus I get the sense of humor, it seems culture non- specific. Comedy is comedy, and I love the comedy music. I can tell right away when something is funny even though I don't speak Chinese. It's quite wonderful.”
“I love it [the spiritual aspect of the performance] ... It brought a big smile to my face."
Shen Yun International Company
In 2006, Chinese artists who wanted to revive China’s authentic traditional culture and share it with the world established Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York. Shen Yun has since grown to five companies that tour the world, performing in over 150 theaters each year.
A Shen Yun performance opens with the creation legend of the Chinese civilization. It takes the audience through the customs, dress, and demeanor of ancient courts, including those of the Sui, Tang, and Qing dynasties, and on to contemporary stories of faith and courage emerging in China today.
Classical Chinese dance, passed down and enriched over thousands of years, has deep roots in the traditional Chinese culture and its ideas about beauty and grace. It is a comprehensive system that is nuanced and elegant, as well as physically demanding, incorporating dramatic flips and tumbling techniques that share a common ancestry with the martial arts.
Shen Yun’s costumes are one of the most remarked-upon aspects of its performances. From ancient military wear, traditional folk costumes, and imperial robes to the apparel of celestial maidens, the costumes portray the inner essence of a character with fine detail and often vibrant colors, so that the characters complement the choreography and the scenes depicted in the digital backdrops.
Shen Yun uses modern technology to make an ancient culture come alive as dancers appear to fly between the stage and the animated digital backdrop. Through its patented technology, Shen Yun brings the settings to the audience: heavenly kingdoms, undersea dominions, imperial palaces, the moon, Chinese landscapes, and more.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, which tours more than 150 cities worldwide each year, is not allowed to perform in China. Because some of the company’s dances shed light on China’s persecution of people of faith, as well as present traditional Chinese culture—a culture that the Chinese Communist Party has systemically destroyed—the regime has not allowed Shen Yun in China.
Ancient Chinese culture was said to be divinely inspired. Its beliefs stemmed from the core value of harmony between heaven, earth, and humankind. Accordingly, the Chinese practiced self-cultivation and endeavored to live by principles such as justice, wisdom, propriety, and benevolence. Shen Yun reflects these ideas in its very name, which means the beauty of divine beings dancing.