Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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Shen Yun Chinese Dance Company

2010 January 12
Shen Yun

Shen Yun

Atlanta has been flooded with Shen Yun posters at shops around town and on billboards. At Perimeter Mall an Asian woman tried to press into my hand a brochure about this New York-based dance company that bills itself as “the world’s premiere [sic] Chinese dance and music company.”

The press release says the program features nearly 20 dances and songs inspired by ancient Chinese culture.

Shen Yun is presented by the New Times Culture and Education Center and the Falun Dafa Association, both affiliates of the Falun Gong empire, which includes the Shen Yun dance company, New Tang Dynasty TV, Sounds of Hope radio network, a performing arts school, the Epoch Times—a newspaper published in 10 languages—and a film production company. Essentially this show is presented by Falun Gong.

Falun Gong was founded in China by Li Hongzhi, who built followers by repackaging ancient Chinese exercises and spiritual concepts—specifically Taoism and Buddhism—with beliefs in extraterrestrials. Chinese authorities outlawed Falun Gong in the late 1990s, and Li now lives in the U.S.

Mary Silver serves as a spokeswoman for Shen Yun and as national deputy editor of the Epoch Times. She said the purpose of the dance performance is to “highlight traditional folklore dances and let people know of traditional Chinese culture.” She said a couple of the dances highlight the persecution and torture that is happening to Falun Gong followers in China but there won’t be any brochures or propaganda spreading Falun Gong.

Will Shen Yun be authentic Chinese dance? Judge for yourself by visiting Atlanta Shen Yun. The show runs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre this Friday through Sunday, Jan. 15-17.

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