School Superintendent Recommends Shen Yun as ‘An Excellent Educational Tool’
PHILADELPHIA—Thirteen years of world touring by Shen Yun Performing Arts, and now, seven touring groups based out of New York, has not satiated the number of theatergoers around the world who want to see the classical Chinese dance phenomenon. In fact, demand for Shen Yun tickets is at an all-time high since many who have wanted to attend for years are finally getting a chance to fulfill their wish.
Michael Brodzik, a superintendent of schools in the Philadelphia area, and his wife and daughter had wanted to see Shen Yun for at least three or four years, he said. They finally did on Feb. 19, 2020, at the Merriam Theater in downtown Philadelphia.
“[Shen Yun] is wonderful,” Brodzik said. “I have wanted to see this for years and finally found the opportunity to get the tickets for my family so we are excited to be here tonight.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s traditional culture, which was once almost lost, and share it with the world. The true Chinese culture has been, for all of its 5,000 years, deeply connected to the divine. In fact, China was once known as “The Divine Land.”
Today, Shen Yun carries on this tradition by incorporating heavenly scenes, spiritual practices, and ancient legends of the Creator into its storytelling dances and song lyrics.
Brodzik noticed the beauty of this spirituality.
“It’s wonderful. They tell a great story. The costumes were beautiful. The technology is beautiful. The skill level of the dancers and everybody is wonderful. It’s very impressive,” he said.
In an unfortunate turn of events, because Shen Yun is restoring China’s ancient culture, they cannot perform in China where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been systematically destroying China’s traditions since that regime came to power 70 years ago. The CCP feels traditional Chinese culture, with its emphasis on principled living and self-refinement and reverence for the divine, is a threat to its legitimacy and power.
Brodzik felt glad that Shen Yun is, despite pressure from the CCP, sharing traditional Chinese culture with the world.
“I think they are doing a wonderful thing in terms of promoting their views and expressing those views here on stage as well. I think they did a nice job of that as well,” he said.
Since the acknowledgment of the divine pervaded ancient Chinese culture, so, too, it pervades Shen Yun’s performances. Brodzik noticed its themes in the lyrics sung by the bel canto vocal performer of the evening.
“The lyrics were wonderful and it’s nice that there is a blend of different, not just dancing, there’s singing, there’s musical performances, there is comedy there is seriousness, so it has a little bit of everything.”
A Shen Yun performance consists of nearly 20 vignettes, some of which are set in modern-day China and depict the persecution that spiritual believers face at the hands of the CCP as part of the regime’s effort to wipe out traditional Chinese culture.
Brodzik had already learned about these sad current events and commented on how they were portrayed by Shen Yun.
“Yes, I was somewhat familiar with it. I looked up a little bit of the background of the story and all that, but I thought that it was presented tastefully. It was appropriate for the audience here and it sends a good message for people to find out more about it, and do something about it hopefully,” Brodzik said.
The education expert weighed in about Shen Yun’s value as a teaching opportunity.
“It’s an excellent educational tool about Chinese culture in general, certainly—very positive message,” he said.
Lastly, Brodzik recommended Shen Yun to everybody and encouraged them to see it.
“It’s an interesting experience for people to come to,” adding that he didn’t know if all of the audience members fully grasped the depth of the narratives in the show, “but I think they are going to leave here and tell their friends about it and urge them to come, too.”
With reporting by Lily Sun and Brett Featherstone.
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