Shen Yun company

Madeleine Larzul

You may have noticed the green Shen Yun posters in stores, train stations and even at your front door!

The first time I’ve noticed their ads, were in the Metro train station in Paris, France seven years ago. 

 Every time I would pass by their posters in the metro station, I wanted to see their performance even more because of the colorful colors and dancers shown. 

Even now,  I still see their posters everywhere including on the Youtube ads called “ What it takes to be a Shen Yun dancer” which shows the intense work of these dancers. 

So what exactly is Shen Yun? Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance company with a symphony orchestra of Western and Chinese instruments. The word Shen Yun means “ the beauty of the divine behind dancing”.  The company was founded in 2006 by the Falun Gong Chinese religious practice in New York City with 480 performers of seven performing arts companies around the world. Since it first began, Shen Yun has toured every year in over 130 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania. The company promotes itself for bringing back five thousand years of Chinese culture. Their performance is to show how important their Chinese culture is to them and how the Communist party has degraded them. The Shen Yun company has been banned in China for several years now. 

I heard people talking about how Shen Yun was propaganda, because of their political statements made of how the Chinese government oppressed the religious cult of Shen Yun. Others were also saying how there were shocking moments during the performance, that they didn’t expect to see.  The problem is that the company doesn’t share what their performance is actually about on their posters, so when the audience comes to see the show most of them are shocked, so they perceive it differently.  As said by the director of Washington State China Relations Council in the Insider “When you read those ads, you don’t know it’s Falun Gong until you get way down into the bottom.”

Basically, when most people look at the posters, they mainly see it as a Chinese classical dance performance. A junior student from Rye High School, Carina Rudolph-Math said “ I’ve seen flyers for it everywhere and would love to see it. It looks like so much fun.” But, once people attend the performance some of them are shocked because it is not what they expected it to be.  Just like a middle schooler from Louis M. Klein Middle School, Zahra Touijer, who just saw the performance this March said “ I had the impression from seeing numerous advertisements that Shen Yun would be a great experience with bright costumes and impressive dancing. At the start I was impressed with the exotic colors, then it rapidly became something else. I remember one scene of the show where dancers held up banners saying, “ Falun Gong is Good!” while men with communist symbols in their backs stabbed an innocent individual in the eye. This scene completely shocked me.”  Then, a junior from Rye High School, Hannah Adler,  who saw the performance three years ago with her grandparents said  “ The tickets were expensive and the show was very long. The majority of the performance was based on the political statement of the oppressive Chinese government and communism, so it was hard to focus on the dancing. I wouldn’t recommend this to many people even though the dancing was pretty cool. The extreme advertisements and political statements were just overwhelming.”

Even though the performance has amazing dancing, the company’s marketing, and advertisement show a different perspective on what the show is actually about, so when you go see it, be prepared to watch a political performance.