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Shen Yun -- Reviving Ancient Chinese Culture

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posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 08:45 AM
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Over the weekend, my son (who just turned 26) and I went to see Shen Yun. I knew it was about Chinese performing arts, but what I learned there was something really quite remarkable.

First of all, Shen Yun is based out of New York. It is not allowed to be performed or shown in China. So think of it as "defectors" (although residents are allowed to emigrate out of China, they don't have to "defect" like Russians or Cubans or North Koreans) who are reviving the ancient and extraordinary ethnic Chinese cultures.

From Tibetan drum-lines to Mongolian Bowls-on-the-head dances of hospitality, Buddhist and Taoist wisdom to fables and dragons, it is truly a spectacle.

Did you know, for example, that the Communist Regime in China has tried (and failed) to kill/eradicate all of the beauty of ancient Chinese thought and religion and culture? The show includes portrayals of Communists as horrible, violent, insensitive murderers, destroyers, and wiper outers of the ethnic beauty and mastery of Chinese Dance.

Did you know that modern gymnastics, acrobatics, tumbling, and ballet are preceded by Chinese dance? It was Chinese dance that first introduced the jumping, swirling, back-flipping, no-hands-walk-overs, leaping and ducking choreography that we often associate with Olympic gymnasts, figure skaters, martial artists, and ballet that is so commonly known now.

The dancers use props like fans, handkerchiefs, silk sleeves, drums, bowls, and absolutely beautiful costumes. The colors are so bright and intense that it reminds one of 'neon' safety garments....the silken robes and skirts and tunics add so much to the performance that it's honestly breath-taking.

The strength, agility, control and skill of these folks rivals Cirque du Soleil in every way (I've also seen Cirque -- very impressive stuff).

The live orchestra at the performance does beautiful "Western" music (classical) combined with Chinese instruments and rhythms. The erhu (pronounced ARE-WHO) is a two-stringed unit that is held upright in the lap, with an underhanded clasp on the bow -- and is said to be the instrument most closely resembling the human larynx.

The show we saw had a goofus super-power weilding buddhist monk who could cause a peson's feet to remain stuck to the floor (like Face-Off) and who farted on the Commie destructo boss who had come to raze the monastery; Lao Tzu bestowing the Tao Te Ching; soprano soloists who sang of the traditional deep spirituality of Harmony among Heaven, Earth, and Humankind, of reincarnation and Divine promise; time travellers; Han Dynasty palace dances (from 206 BCE to 220 CE); military events, and many other themes.

The backdrop is an animated one, which includes figures who fly in and out of paintings, clouds, storms, etc --- and then dancers pop up from behind a low wall on the stage to perform as if they had been the flying figures ---- fairies, dragons, sages, Buddhas, etc.

It was utterly fantastic.

Shen Yun has been around for 10 years now - and all of the dancers are Asian. Each company (there are five touring companies who perform all over the world EXCEPT FOR IN CHINA!) has about 40 dancers and a full orchestra. The dancers were all born here in the US, or in China or Taiwan, while there are other nationalities in the orchestra (yes, the orchestra is now auditioning for musicians!).

There are two MCs who come out onto the stage between every dance, an elegant Chinese lady and a plain-old white gentleman, whose manners are impeccable. They are gracious, and describe each dance in both Mandarin and English (or whatever language is appropriate for the audience, depending on location) so we knew what was being portrayed, a bit of the history behind it, and what region of China it represented.

Scenes vary from Han Dynasty to 1999, and the program is absolutely condemnatory toward the Communist/Atheist regime that has run China for the last 60 years.

If you have a chance to go see it, it is WELL WORTH the price (we had the best seats available, at $140 a pop), and gives an unparalleled demonstration of the classical Chinese culture that has been under assault for decades now.

A very brief advert:


And a longer video about Classical Chinese Dance:


Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heralded as a gift from the divine. And part of this gift was a supreme art form that has endured to this day: classical Chinese dance, built on profound traditional aesthetics, tempered over thousands of years into an extensive and independent system of dance. In this video, learn more about one of the most vigorous and expressive art forms in the world today.

Shen Yun Performing Arts website


5,000 years worth of passed-down culture: technical skill, form, and bearing (yun) are the three components.

Just wanted to share! Have any of you seen it? Did you know about it?




posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 08:48 AM
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I put it in this sub-forum because it is about how China's rulers are trying to squelch it all.
If it would be better in Ancient Civilizations, that's fine, too.

One must realize that China still has 'dance companies' that perform, but the dancers who are part of Shen Yun talk about how 'limited' and different the government-sponsored shows put on in China are today. That these things are suppressed in China is truly sad. The artistry is really incredible.


edit on 2/15/2017 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs

My Tai Chi professor, (who also taught Kung Fu) told me that the Chinese started killing a lot of martial arts practitioners and that there's not too many genuine Kung Fu styles left. Many of what you see in China are knockoffs.



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

That's what I understand as well ----
and Shen Yun (the company) is keeping it all alive. Highly recommend it!



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 09:25 AM
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We could all use a little more culture. Helps us to see they are people too and not the enemy.

You mentioned Marshall Arts, Marshall arts weapons were developed by a people at a time when keeping and bearing 'arms' was made illegal by the state.

The sword, the bow and crossbow were disallowed under pain of death. My instructor in Nunchuka (nunchucks or sticks) informed me this Marshal 'Art' was developed from a wheat thresher.



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 09:38 AM
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Hi op by lying and not being factual you ruined everything and i can not trust your op. This statement from you is bull and untrue. " they don't have to "defect" like Russians or Cubans or North Koreans). Cubans do not have to defect" - we have many Cubans in my country who is doctors, est that come and go freely between my country and Cuba also Russians btw. They live here and work in our diamond industry as polishers est. they also go frim here back to Russia and they do not defect. I realy hope that is ignorance and not just plain usa arrogance and lies in the op. a reply to: BuzzyWigs



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 09:41 AM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Hi BuzzyWigs.

An amazing post and very educational.

I'm glad you had a good time but sounds like the politics suck. How sad.



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 10:17 AM
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Yeah, nice but what is the point?
Communism would be gone if the "free world" really wanted to but who would preserve the one child policy without commies? Today's China means quantity. It's like Africa - it's sad to say but If you feed them, there will be more of them next year.
Yeah, I like old Chinese Zen masters and Shaolin philosophy but do I need more than I have in KFTLC series?
Will all of them come back to their ancient roots once they have a freedom?
My favourite Chinese is Japanese anyway but I'm trying to be positive when I see people living in 2m cages for 150€/month in Hong Kong.



posted on Feb, 15 2017 @ 10:51 AM
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originally posted by: Diebok
Hi op by lying and not being factual you ruined everything and i can not trust your op. This statement from you is bull and untrue. " they don't have to "defect" like Russians or Cubans or North Koreans). Cubans do not have to defect" - we have many Cubans in my country who is doctors, est that come and go freely between my country and Cuba also Russians btw. They live here and work in our diamond industry as polishers est. they also go frim here back to Russia and they do not defect. I realy hope that is ignorance and not just plain usa arrogance and lies in the op. a reply to: BuzzyWigs
I'm going to let this insult go since you are new.
However, those of us who are old enough to remember the Cold War days know that Russians and Cubans DID have to defect. I am personal friends with a Cuban who defected before the rule that they have to reach the beach to be allowed in; and as I was a dancer in my youth I was also very aware of Russians defecting (like Misha Barishnikov, for example).

That's all I have to say to you.



posted on Feb, 16 2017 @ 02:47 AM
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The second vid is educative. Isn't it superior to both gymnastics and ballet? Yes it is. From bored farmer turning his wheat trasher into martial art and then into even higher art. It's a microcosmos of humanity where the hidden potential is flowering from stupid everyday life. We know that war used to drive the progress and this looks like the next step. It's not just Chinese culture but something archetypal we should learn from and claim as our very own.



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