Shen Yun has great PR! I've been seeing great reviews on Shen Yun for some time and when it came to the Sacramento, California area I jumped quickly to buy some tickets. The tickets weren't cheap I spend $240 for two seats in Row N (I assume they start in Row A) smack in the center and we definitely had a good view of the performance. That I won't complain about. The Sacramento Community Center Theater holds 2,398 people and from my observation it looked like it was sold out.
The performance started
timely and the initial dancers were very good. After the first dance two
MC's came on stage and introduced the performances in English and
Chinese. The following dancer's were very good also and they used some
high tech blending of animation with the dancers to make spectacular
stories. But... not far into the performance we started to get the
religious message which was of their belief in "FaLun Dafa" probably better known as "FaLun Gong". I don't actually think they used the word Falun Gong. They started off talking about "Dafa" and talking about the persecution of their religion in China.
The story of FaLun Gong
is very similar to the tale of Joseph Smith and the Mormons - a cult
leader whose members get ostracized, beaten and chased away to the
promised land - Utah in the case of the Mormons and the USA for the
leader of FaLun Gong. Both groups end up spreading worldwide with their
organizations making lots of money.
talked about how they couldn't have their performance in mainland China
because of their beliefs. Well, Falun Gong is outlawed in China. It's
not a surprise that they can't show it there especially when several of
the dances have scenes of "government" bad guys beating the "good" Falun
Gongers. In one of the final dances there was someone holding a banner
of Chinese characters that read "Falun Dafa is good". Most Americans
can't read Chinese but I can read a little and I understood what the
banner said. It put me off.
So my disappointment lies in the fact
that I paid good money to be entertained and ended up seeing a
performance that tried to make me sympathetic to their religion. It's
like getting pulled into a Church and being forced to sit through Bible
lectures when you really don't want to be there and have no interest in
it. Don't get me wrong. People can believe what they want to. Just don't
lie to me about what you're trying to do so you can force me to sit
In the case of Shen Yun they
should be up front that they want people to be sympathetic to their
cause and they want to convert you and they also want to make money off
you while you get indoctrinated with their message. If Falun Gong is as
sneaky and dishonest about spreading their message in China as they are
here, maybe that's why the Chinese Government doesn't like them.
my recommendation is that if you are considering going to the Shen Yun performance be well advised
that there will be attempts to convert you to their belief system and
you will have paid good money to listen to their propaganda.
And by the way, contrary to their
statement that you won't see a performance this good anywhere else,
there are better dance troupes from mainland China that come through the
US. Watch for them. They will entertain you instead of trying to convert you.