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Shen Yun at Centre in the Square

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December 29, 2010


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Shen Yun at Centre in the Square

shen yun at centre in the squareShen Yun Performing Arts, is a performing arts and entertainment company based in New York City. It performs classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dance, and story-based dance.

Founded in 2006, the Shen Yun troupe is often associated with the Falun Gong spiritual practice, and performances around the world are hosted by local Falun Dafa Associations. Kelly Wen, Master of Ceremonies for Shen Yun, stated that the underlying ideas of the performance is to “revive the essence of 5000 years of culture”, which Wen described as a lost art destroyed by the Chinese communist government.

Among others, the show has been praised by Broadway critic Richard Connema, who gave it five stars, while other reviews, such as The Guardian, criticised the show for promoting Falun Gong without saying so explicitly enough.

According to a press release in The New York Times, Shen Yun has more than 200 members and perform seven months a year. The show’s acts and production staff are trained at Shen Yun’s headquarters in Cuddebackville, in Orange County, New York.

Shen Yun shows feature traditional Chinese dance and song. A January 2010 seven-show run of Shen Yun at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, DC, consisted of twenty-two vignettes with colorful costumes, dancing, and “thrilling operatic singing.” The 2008 shows in Denver were composed of sixty dancers, singers and musicians, though the size of each company varies. The 2007 shows in San Francisco contained sixteen different acts, consisting of traditional dancing and martial arts displays. The acts are presented in both Chinese and the local language. Each act is accompanied by a wide, projected backdrop that provides animation of “mountain scenes with snow, village scenes with rising smoke, countryside landscapes, and palaces.”

Shen Yun enacts three distinct forms of Chinese dance in its performances: classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dance (for instance, dances of China’s Dai and Mongolian ethnic minorities), and story-based dance, presenting classic Chinese stories such as the legend of Mulan.

Aside from the dance pieces, there is also a live orchestra of Chinese and Western instruments. The songs are in Chinese, but the lyrics, both in Chinese and the local language where the performance is being held, are projected onto a backdrop revealing the performances’ themes, “dealing often with historical movements and their devoted disciples.”

Where: Centre in the Square, 101 Queen St.E., Kitchener

When: January 1-4, 2010

Time: 7:30pm & 2:30pm

Cost: Tickets starting at $80

For more information please visit website.

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Keith helps home buyers understand homes, schools and neighbourhoods in Kitchener Waterloo. He is an author, an award-winning realtor and an agent of change. On Twitter @kdmarshall. Online at

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