Staff Report

Since its inception, Shen Yun, a classical Chinese dance company has taken off with, literally, flying colors. The pageantry of dance and music is a stunning display of Chinese civilization; with dancers spinning and leaping through the air in brilliant handmade costumes that take your breath away.

Shen Yun Performing Arts had humble beginnings as a small nonprofit organization based in upstate New York. It was established in 2006 by a group of talented ethnic Chinese artists who came together with a shared vision—to revive genuine traditional culture and share it with the world.

Watching Shen Yun gives you the feeling of partaking in something historic, in the resurrection of a long lost world. It is the world of ancient China, the Middle Kingdom that can no longer be seen even in China today. It is a world where divine beings and humans interact, a magical world of myth and legend.

It is completely independent of the regime of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. In fact, even though the company annually performs to sold-out theaters in New York and around the world, the company is not allowed to perform in China.

“Actually in China today, you can no longer see performances of genuine traditional Chinese culture,” said principal dancer and choreographer Yungchia Chen, who grew up in China, later moved to Taiwan. “China has many talented dancers, but the choreographers aren’t allowed to choreograph any traditional pieces for them to perform. Shen Yun is different.”

There are countless stories in the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Chen noted, “The challenge is to find stories you can depict on stage. In a play, actors can speak, but in dance you have just a few minutes to tell a story, and do so with clarity in a moving way.”

Shen Yun is home to an impressive number of artists from around the world. And these artists take Shen Yun’s mission to heart. This can be seen in their energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, as well as their seamless cooperation, the type that can only arise from a common sense of greater purpose.

Shen Yun will perform at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28; The Lakeland Center on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 7-8; and the Venice Performing Arts Center Friday-Sunday, February 10-12. Tickets and information visit

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