For two days at the northern Taiwanese city of Keelung, some of the local government officials had done one thing in common—taking time out from their work to enjoy a performance by the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Four political dignitaries made their appraisal of Shen Yun public. Among them was the city’s mayor Lin Yu-chang, who enjoyed the matinee performance at the Keelung Cultural Center Performance Hall on April 18.
“I believe [the performance] was about telling people to be good and kind,” said Lin, who added this was his second time seeing Shen Yun. “It was a good performance that brings out the depth of traditional [Chinese] culture.”
Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance and music company. Since its inception in 2006, the company has now developed into six equal-sized companies, and they make annual tours around the world every year.
Lin believed it would be a loss to anyone who could not see the performance.
Lin’s comment was made in reference to the fact that Shen Yun is currently not allowed to perform in China. What’s more, as Shen Yun’s website explains, people cannot see other performances like Shen Yun in China because the Chinese communist regime has “treated traditional culture as a threat to its power.”
The performance was good in bringing positive values to society, said Lin, adding that he would encourage more people to come to see it.
“If [Shen Yun] is in Taiwan, and there are mainland Chinese tourists who happen to be visiting Taiwan at the same time, they should take the chance to see it,” Lin said.
A Whole New Experience
Tsai Shih-ying, a member of Taiwan’s legislature, also known as the Legislative Yuan, saw the performance on the evening of April 17. Like Mayor Lin, Tsai has seen the performance before.
“This is not my first time. I have seen the performance many times. And every time I come to see it, I have a whole new experience and different emotions,” Tsai said.
Tsai recalled how he was impressed by the beauty the first time. But the second time, he walked away appreciating the skills of the dancers. And now, he explained, he came to appreciate the “flow of the long Chinese history” and the depth behind the story dances.
Shen Yun takes the audiences “on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture” with dance and music, according to its website. And part of this journey are mini-dramas recounting the past, including literacy classics and tales of bygone heroes, all of which celebrate virtues that are at the “heart of Chinese civilization.”
“The performance showcased the soul and the spirit behind the [traditional] Chinese culture. While it brought out the historical past, it also called on people to treasure this culture,” Tsai said.
Tsai had a suggestion: “I think high-ranking mainland Chinese officials should see Shen Yun if they get the chance. Maybe afterward they will view things differently with regards to domestic and foreign policies.”
Yang Hsiu-yu, a councilwoman for the Keelung municipal government, saw the performance on April 17. She shared her reflections on the story dances she saw.
“These stories tell people what is supposed to be our purpose in life,” Yang said.
She elaborated how she saw truthfulness, compassion, and beauty in the traditional culture presented by Shen Yun—all of these values will allow people to be good and kind and not lose their ways in life. She said it is important for people to learn about traditional Chinese culture.
Yang took a moment to applaud the Shen Yun dancers, who danced with their souls, in showing the traditional Chinese culture.
Good Versus Evil
Chen Jing-ping, director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau at the Keelung government, was among the attendants on April 18, the final performance at Keelung before Shen Yun travels to the central Taiwanese city of Taichung for four performances.
“The performance brought out the strength and beauty of [traditional] Chinese culture,” Chen said.
What’s more important is the fact that some of the story dances had a message, a message of good versus evil, according to Chen.
“They tell you that there is a good side in this world, but there is also a dark side to it—a side that awaits us to make a change,” Chen added.
After Taichung, Shen Yun will kick off the final leg of its Taiwan tour, with five performances in the northern city of Taoyuan, followed by three performance in southern Taiwan Tainan City.
NTD News, Keelung, Taiwan