Shen Yun: Wonderful Efficiency & Propaganda!

Yesterday Ford and I attended a efficiency of Shen Yun right here in Miami. Okay, this put up is just mildly journey associated, however tradition and journey go hand-in-hand, and I simply can’t cease fascinated about what I noticed. It was tremendous spectacular, but additionally a complete mindf*ck… so I’m curious what everybody else’s take is on this?

Background on Shen Yun, and why we determined to go

Shen Yun is a United States primarily based performing arts and leisure firm that has develop into huge. Shen Yun’s founder appears to have a 400-acre compound in New York, the place the group has its personal college of kinds. The time period “Shen Yun” interprets to “the great thing about heavenly beings dancing,” which appears harmless sufficient.

Shen Yun was based in 2006, and has grown massively since, and at this level there are eight teams which might be continuously touring, with practically 500 performers. The corporate excursions worldwide… properly, besides in China, the place it’s banned. The corporate guarantees a tremendous efficiency with conventional Chinese language dances, and it payments the efficiency as providing a glimpse into “China earlier than communism.”

I don’t know if it’s the case in all places, however the quantity of promoting that Shen Yun does is unreal. If Shen Yun marketed any extra, it could be My Pillow Man on Fox Information throughout Mike Lindell’s peak

The Shen Yun adverts are in all places. Billboards. Pamphlets. On-line. You title it. That promoting lastly labored on us. Once we noticed that they had been again on the town, we figured it was lastly time to see this for ourselves. I imply, I appreciated that they’d a 2PM efficiency on a Saturday, which works completely with my sleep schedule (the 7:30PM efficiency, however… properly, nothing good occurs after 7PM!).

I deliberately ignored the Shen Yun controversy

I knew there was some controversy surrounding Shen Yun, although I deliberately didn’t do an excessive amount of analysis earlier than the present. Why? Properly, I wished to type my very own opinion, with out coming in with the bias of what I might need learn on-line.

The one factor I knew was that the Chinese language authorities has banned Shen Yun, and has labeled it as a cult. I imply, with out getting too political, I didn’t actually view that as a dealbreaker.

I additionally knew that new spiritual motion Falun Gong is behind Shen Yun. I used to be kind of acquainted with this, however once more, didn’t do an excessive amount of analysis, as a result of I wished to maintain an open thoughts (and truthfully, I used to be in all probability nonetheless extra educated on the subject than the typical individual there, as a result of in the course of the intermission I heard a lady close to me say that the present was actually making her wish to go to Japan…).

The Shen Yun efficiency was unimaginable…

The Shen Yun efficiency lasted for a bit over two hours (together with the intermission), and consisted of a bunch of quick dancing performances, in addition to solo performances (instrumental and singing). The expertise of those performers is solely past.

The whole lot was so completely choreographed. Each single transfer from each single performer was good, and I used to be in disbelief. I imply, I can barely stroll down the road with out tripping over my very own charges, but these individuals had been doing 12 coordinated backflips and making it look like it was nothing.

I can’t say sufficient good issues about how spectacular the expertise was, and the way visually interesting the entire manufacturing was. The costumes, the stay music, the performers, it was a feast for the eyes and ears.

…however OMG, the propaganda was wild

The theme all through the Shen Yun efficiency assorted tremendously. Every efficiency was perhaps 5 minutes lengthy, after which there have been these two emcees who would supply commentary on what we had been about to see.

The emcees had been a Chinese language girl, and a (distractingly good-looking) Caucasian man who was presumably simply an fanatic for the language and tradition. At instances, their banter felt like a comedy routine. It very a lot felt like they had been there so as to add a human aspect to the entire thing, and to go off some fairly controversial opinions as reality.

A lot of the particular person performances had been harmless sufficient, and wouldn’t make you bat an eyelid. Some had been simply conventional dances reportedly from 1000’s of years in the past, whereas there have been additionally some lighthearted performances, like roleplaying {that a} well being inspector was displaying up at a Chinese language restaurant when all the employees had been drained.

However then there have been additionally a number of scenes the place I used to be simply questioning “what the heck am I watching?” For instance, this wonderful singer got here on stage for a solo efficiency, after which the lyrics had been translated and written on a display. The lyrics included issues like “atheism and evolution are lethal concepts,” and “fashionable developments destroy what makes us human.” That wasn’t simply one thing that was stated as soon as, however it was a recurring theme.

What appeared very intentional is that the excessive factors of the singing efficiency had been the components with probably the most controversial lyrics, so the entire theater would erupt in clapping after this man sang “atheism and evolution are lethal concepts.”

There was additionally a scene the place Shanghai was being destroyed by a tsunami, after which the chief of Falun Gong swooped in to avoid wasting everybody. Or there was a scene the place a follower of Falun Gong was having their organs harvested by the CCP.

I’m simply so confused about what I noticed

As we walked out of the theater I stated to Ford “that was wonderful, I’m undecided whether or not I used to be extra impressed by the unimaginable dancing or the delicate propaganda.”

However the humorous factor is that the propaganda isn’t even delicate. You principally get a bunch of unsuspecting individuals in a room who pay you a bunch of cash primarily based on the adverts they noticed, you inform them evolution and atheism are evil, they clap as if there’s no tomorrow, they usually faux like they didn’t hear it, or one way or the other discover it charming.

Right here’s what I’m interested in, and what Ford and I disagree on. I get the sense that that is meant to be propaganda and the purpose is to push the faith. Now, do I believe this really works, and any individuals convert on account of this? No. However I believe a part of the purpose is to a minimum of normalize this faith, create extra consciousness of it, and make individuals not assume that there’s something unusual occurring right here.

Ford has a barely completely different take, and he thinks that they’ve their faith, and the efficiency is simply primarily meant as a strategy to revenue off the entire thing and preserve it going. If that had been the reality, I figured they’d maybe be a bit much less controversial with the content material of the present. However I definitely might be mistaken.

Now, no matter which take is true, one factor is for certain — Shen Yun is an enormous cash maker. They promote tens of millions of tickets yearly, so you possibly can solely think about what the revenues are.

Backside line

I lastly caved and acquired a My Pillow Man pillow… I imply, attended a efficiency of Shen Yun. I deliberately went into it “blind,” and knew it could be a bit controversial. However my gosh, it was much more than I used to be anticipating.

On the one hand, the efficiency was nothing wanting unimaginable, and the expertise of the Shen Yun group is spectacular. Then again, the quantity of propaganda within the present is wild. The individuals behind advertising and marketing Shen Yun are geniuses, as a result of I paid a reasonably penny to take a seat via a efficiency the place I used to be advised that science is evil, and fashionable developments are ruining the world.

What a singular place Shen Yun and Falun Gong are in, being known as a cult by the CCP, and claiming to supply a glimpse into China earlier than communism. But one way or the other, I’m undecided Falun Gong comes out of this trying just like the cheap social gathering.

What’s your tackle Shen Yun? Has anybody else seen this efficiency, and if that’s the case, what did you assume?

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