Kick off your new year right by experiencing 5,000 years of cultural celebration in one must-see performance. The 2017 Shen Yun performance, which takes place just a few days after Chinese New Year on February 4 and 5, brings together close to 100 talented performers to pay homage to over 50 Chinese ethnic groups that hail from different backgrounds, lifestyles, and geographic regions.
“Some people say it is a two and a half hour trip around China,” says Tianlun Jian, Shen Yun Executive Director for Cleveland. “You will see different lifestyles, from the historical past through today.”
The performance consists of over 20 different acts. Throughout each act, viewers will be rewarded with a visual tour of China. Shen Yun utilizes a backdrop that changes more than a hundred times, featuring art that highlights unique hometown sceneries.
“It is moving, so you can see a lot of different things during the performance,” explains Jian. “Both the background and dancers are moving, so the movement develops the story as it changes. The weather changes, too. In some cases, it is just like a film, but with live people and a live orchestra.”
From the Mongolian Grasslands to the vibrant grounds of the Yellow River, each distinctly different lifestyle is honored through over 400 individually-crafted costumes worn by top Chinese dance performers. Jian laments that the current political state of China has attempted to destroy these individual cultures over the past six decades. Each year, different shows are performed to highlight different dynasties and different stories. Each new tour consists of unique costumes, music, and choreography. This year, five tours performed by five troupes are simultaneously touring the world—except for China, where the performers could be prosecuted for their preservation of culture and its roots in Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
Shen Yun 2017 will consist of more than 400 performances in more than 110 cities. This year, the performances will include reenactments of famous stories, including The Monkey King and its mind-blowing visuals.
“You know what the universal reaction to this performance is?” asks Jian. “Japanese, American, Russian… they always say one word: ‘Wow.’ Some people have said it touches their soul. Everyone walks out with a smile, and some have even said that the world is a better place because of Shen Yun. The mission is to try to revive culture, and through cultural revival it enriches our community. It is uplifting, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Each individual piece of the performance is unique, and each story is different. There is something for everyone within Shen Yun, and the overall experience will endow you with hope and inspiration. Can you imagine a better way to start the year?
Shen Yun 2017 offers shows February 4 at 2 and 7 pm and February 5 at 2 pm at the State Theatre, Cleveland. Tickets are available at PlayHouseSquare.org or ShenYun.com/Cleveland.