Professors Impressed by Courage of Shen Yun
AUSTIN, Texas—”These are people who totally believe what they’re doing,” said Samuel Cohn, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin on Dec. 27.
“Chinese culture was remarkable,” Mr. Cohn said. “What impressed me was the sheer courageousness of putting together the show.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by artists from all over the world to revive the divinely inspired Chinese culture.
Mr. Cohn said that the “supreme skill of the music and the dance without any compromise to the underlying content” was unlike anything he has seen before.
“They make an impassioned case for what they believe,” Mr. Cohn said of Shen Yun’s performers.
As the emcees noted during the show, Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today.
Shen Yun takes the audience through a journey of 5,000 years where traditional values like wisdom, justice, propriety, and benevolence are brought to life through music and dance. However, the emcees informed the audience that many people in China today are instead persecuted for those beliefs.
“Traditional Chinese culture is magnificent, and these people do it very well,” Mr. Cohn said.
Mr. Cohn also said that he noticed the wide range of traditional Chinese dance performed, from the classical Chinese dance showing different dynasties to the ethnic and folk dances across China’s many minority ethnic groups.
“The dance was superlative,” he said. “All of it was really, really striking.”
Lynn Wallisch, Ph.D., a research scientist in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas, attended the performance with Mr. Cohn and agreed with him, saying that the performers were exquisite and amazing.
Mr. Cohn added that he was especially moved by the finale of the performance and the image of a Buddha descending to earth. He found it powerful and stunning.
“The portrait of persecution, the portrait of idealism, the portrait of linking oneself to 5,000 years of magnificent history—that was all stunning,” Mr. Cohn said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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