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Shen Yun performance is not suitable for children


Hope that this does not offend the RQ rule about discussing religion.  I actually need factual info here, preferably from someone who has seen this dance troupe.

The Shen Yun Dancing Troupe is coming to our city in a few weeks. This is a New York City based Chinese dance troupe that performs with Chinese music and beautiful Chinese backdrops.  Their dances are based on Chinese history and culture.

It *sounds* like it would be a great event to take our girls to -- except when you read about the event, it appears that the troupe may have a subtext.  Some of the troupe members are Falun Gong members and the whole evening is billed as having a "divine" and "spiritual" effect.

Now, I am very open to learning more about Buddhism, etc. but I'm not so sure about Falun Gong.  Plus this event is super-expensive ($100+ per ticket).
Has anyone else seen this dance company?  What are the dances like?  Is it suitable for young children?  Does it have a strong religious subtext?

This show is offered in our area at the holidays in the winter.  It is my understanding that it is not a show for young children due to some dances regarding the oppression of certain groups in China.  There are some dances that involve a portrayal of violence.

We saw them a few years ago.  MY SIL gave us the tickets, and we didn't know it was Falun Gong until midway through the show, when a couple of the dances made it obvious.  (It wasn't nearly that expensive in Boston.) Most of the dances were really beautiful and wonderful and we really enjoyed it.  There were a few that did deal with violence and oppression, but you could probably figure out which ones from the program and just take your child out for those. 

sebago girl:
We brought both our dd's to see The Shen Yun Dancers last year, ages at the time were 3.5 and 6 years old.  They LOVED it.  The dances were beautiful and the religious subtext was WAY over their heads.  Just last week, my oldest asked if we are going to see them again.  I would definitely bring them again.

We went last year DH bought discounted tickets at Costco. About 3 minutes in our nanny mentioned that the troupe was Falun Gong and started getting very uncomfortable. At the end of the first Act there was a scene where a father was brutally taken away by the Chinese Govt. and you see the family mourning. My DD was visibly disturbed by this, and when she asked her nanny about what had taken place her nanny just said "he must have done something wrong." After that we all decided to leave. Not suitable for young children. Now, the dancing was wonderful and we are open to Buddhism but the message from Fulan Gong was just a little too much.

I took my daughter (age 6) to the show last week.  I was unaware of the Fulan Gong connection.  More than any religious aspect, the Fulan Gong theme is the concern.  The show is over 2 hours. Very beautiful...elaborate costumes and set design.  Beautiful traditional Chinese music and incredible dancers. Unfortunately, the show has two very violent scenes (one in the first act and one in the second, probably no more than 5 mins each)...both depicting a protest by Fulan Gong member and some "black-clothed" big government types beating up the protester.  The second scene uses taser guns. Pretty graphic.

Having said that, my daughter really enjoyed the rest of the show.  We talked through the scenes and any difficult concepts.  Overall, she loved the show and wants to go see it again.   For me... without those two scenes, it would definitely be worth the money.  Otherwise, I'm not sure what I will do the next time that Shen Yun comes to town???

Two things to be aware of, because of the Falun Gong connection:

1)  you will be subjected to Falun Gong doctrine/protest in the performance.

2)  proceeds are used to fund Falun Gong outreach in foreign countries. 

From there, you have to decide.

Thanks so much for all of the replies.  They have been helpful in making our decision.

Our children are very sensitive, and we have other venues where we can see Chinese dancing, etc.  So we will not attend this dance troupe's performance.

I really do not completely understand the Chinese gov't.'s strong position against Falun Gong.  They are a qui gong group who will not bow to gov't. pressure.  Perhaps that alone is enough for the Chinese gov't. to attack them so violently?

Falun Gong was tolerated in China until the leader began organizing/sanctioning anti-government actions. 

It is still not clear to this day why the leader decided to do this.  I have my opinions, primary being rivalries between differing qi gong organizations in China in the late 90s being one that makes a lot of sense, but I'm not sure.  There very definitely appears to have been a power struggle between qi gong groups, but there was also a growing public outcry about the grouip in the late 90s, lead primarily by a number of prominent critics in the top Chinese universities. My impression is that the heart of this outcry was over Falun Gong attempting to co-opt key traditions and beliefs in China history as it's own.

The government officially outlawed the organization in 1999 and ordered it disbanded for anti-government activities and they declared it an evil cult.  From that point onward, they were ordered to disband and cease anti-government organizing and refusal has been met with arrest, detention, and trial. At one time there were an estimated 70 million members inside China. Other qi gong groups continued to thrive inside China, even today. So it was never about qi gong, per se. Outlawing was driven by other factors, most prominently organizing public anti-government actions.

Right or wrong, this is what happened.

I took my 4 year old this winter, and she enjoyed it.  It was scary in some parts.  There was a big anti-Chinese government as well as a lot of reference to what I believe was Confucianism.  At one point, a person gets eaten by a tiger, and in another scene, a mother is murdered by the police for practicing her religion.  I won't take my kids to it again.  I thought there would be more focus on traditional dance and less on political protest!

Thanks again to everyone who responded.  I've passed on your replies to our local FCC, and we will not be buying a block of tickets.

Individual members are attending as they like, of course.

Original text from: http://chinaadopttalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=49594.0