Went to see the Shen Yun dance show at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. I guess I didn’t do enough research before going, but it turned out that this thing is funded by Falun Gong. This is a religious sect that is banned in China. I am not familiar with its teachings, so I’m not qualified to talk about the merits of this religion, but I was unpleasantly surprised to find that these people used an otherwise enjoyable and beautiful dance performance to preach their religion. I was especially surprised when one of the MC’s said at one point that most of these traditional arts have vanished from China under its authoritarian regime. Anyone who has been to China will be able to tell you that that is a blatant lie. You can find those same or similar dances in China, and performed at a higher level.
It is great that the Shen Yun troupe is showcasing beautiful Chinese dance and culture to the world. It is unfortunate that this is being done in conjunction with religious and political propaganda. One of the dances depicted a Falun Gong practitioner being dragged off by black garbed agents with big red communist insignias on their backs (instantly raising the Pavlovian response in this audience of “Communist=Bad”). He is brought back dead, but fairies and angels descend from heaven and take him into their midst. I am not an apologist for authoritarian governments, but this sort of heavy handed cheese is really bad.
Then there was the male soprano who sang a song urging people to seek the truth with Falun Gong. The lyrics were projected in both Chinese and English, and had obviously been dumbed down so as to have the widest appeal, but the dumbing down was disastrous–every line made me cringe. That was all so horrible until I noticed that Gary had nodded off serenely beside me, while behind me, a fat, massive man was meditating to the song. Now I really enjoyed that. That was the highlight of the whole performance.
(Wordpress.com, May 18, 2009)
Original text from: http://kiamchoo.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/shen-yun-performance/