Argentinian Review: Shen Yun - Beauty for the Senses
The following is a translation of a review that appeared in Spanish on the Argentinian arts website Red Teatral.
By Gustavo Martín Scuderi
Argentina has the good fortune and privilege to watch—December 13-21, 2012 at the Opera Citi Theatre—an incredible, fantastic, and unforgettable performance by the non-profit company Shen Yun Performing Arts. I can’t describe in one word this important event, but perhaps the best word is 'mesmerizing'?
Shen Yun was born in 2006, and from the beginning one has to understand, as a member of the audience, that one is a privileged. That’s because this show, which brings us the traditional dances of China with its 5,000 years of civilization, is blocked from performing in China by the ruling communist regime. It’s heartbreaking to think that a people can’t enjoy its own dances and traditional arts. To illustrate, it would be as if we weren’t allowed to enjoy a good chacarera or a passionate tango. What a shame.
The company is composed of Chinese artists from all over the world—I’m guessing some of them may have had to seek political asylum in order to join—and it is based in New York, from where they tour the world with huge success. Being one of the best in what they do, after months of thorough preparations, they present a new show every season. That means that if we are lucky enough to watch them again, the show will be different.
For those interested in history, watching this show is ideal, and yet it’s also a touching event for the whole family. Chinese people and their values—compassion, loyalty and, above all, a profound respect for the human being—are clearly reflected in the performance. It pays homage to, and is a reflection of, the heritage of the orthodox Chinese culture inspired by the divine. With the paradigm of Western culture, this may be hard for us to understand, so we have to just let them guide us through what the generous stage provides.
The performance develops through different programs with a chronological line based on the Chinese history until the end, with the moving and tragic present. We will see a multitude of eminent dancers, with the authentic costumes of each era and colors that are a wonderful gift for the eyes.
Each program—very original (especially with the use of audiovisual means) and with very, very polished dance—is a proof of the dancers’ strict training. It would be unfair to mention some of them in particular, since they are all magnificent.
If I had to choose the programs that touched me the most and made me feel in my retinas an explosion of colors and, at the same time, genuine emotion, those would be: “An Unexpected Encounter,” in which a father and daughter, tourists in Tiananmen Square, are mistakenly arrested as protesters; “Sewing the Flowers of Heaven,” which pervades all our senses; “An Early Spring”, just amazing! and the extremely touching final act “Divine Mercy.” It is also important to note that each program is introduced by two nice MCs, and that one can also listen to some lyrics sung by magnificent voices of tenors and sopranos.
Shen Yun is a show no one should miss. There are few occasions when we can enjoy this kind of performance from overseas, in which excellence is embedded in every aspect of its preparations.
Colors, dances, music—all on the stage of the Opera Citi Theatre. I hope they have the success they excessively deserve, so that in the future they can come back to surprise us. It’s my intention to support this great cause of a people striving to keep its traditions alive, even if only as an ordinary member of the audience or with these humble words.
Thank you so much, Shen Yun!
Translated from the original article in Spanish.
December 20, 2012