Shen Yun, Work of Art or Weapon Against Communism?

Is Shen Yun’s business model the wave of the future for exposing political unrest?  Shen Yun, one of the most amazing shows of our times, combines 5,000 years of Chinese history with song and dance.  However, the show is not permitted to be shown in China because of the artists depiction of Chinese politics.  Is Shen Yun a work of art, or a carefully designed weapon against communism?

George Sawyer, self-proclaimed esoteric Taoist and responsible hedonist, commented

“Shen Yun seems to be part of the propaganda arm of Falun Gong / Falun Dafa, a religious group that openly and publicly challenged the political power of the Chinese government and has paid a terrible price.

Falun Gong seems to have quite a reputation as a cult, and has received lots of terrible press.  They are being persecuted by the Chinese Government. While Falun Gong says it’s about religion, it seems to me to be about politics.  Their Wikipedia page – Falun Gong – seems quite neutral, and side-steps the “cult” issue.  The best English language account I’ve found of their dispute with the Chinese government is David Palmer’s book, “Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China”

Here is a snippet from an articles about recent performances

Shen Yun at Lincoln Center: Truth on Falun Gong

…. If Shen Yun is a good representation of classical Chinese dance and  historical costumes then female representation is on the VERY demure  side. All the dancers wore floor length skirts and high necks and  sleeves. I don’t think I saw one thigh or chest. Sex appeal there were  none. Artistry yes. But then the show took an unexpected turn. Suddenly  there was this heavy-handed spiritual preaching about the religious  group Falun Dafa and how to achieve salvation and truth through the  Dafa. On top of the terrible lyrical translation projected on the screen  about this new religious movement in China (founded in 1992), there  were quite a few skits reacting the persecution of Falun followers in  China by the government – represented by dancers wearing all black with a  bright red sickle and hammer emblem on their backs.

The reviewer goes on to say that except for the “preachy parts ” the performance was enjoyable.

Based on the experiences of friends with Falun Dafa and based on what I’ve read, especially from the qigong community, I steer clear of them.”

On a much lighter note, here are my comments about the show,