Colourful costumes, traditional Chinese music and exquisite dance unite in one of the highlights of the 2024 cultural season, coming to Vancouver this spring.
Classical Chinese dance company Shen Yun – which means ‘the beauty of divine beings dancing’ – returns to B.C., stopping at Queen Elizabeth Theatre March 20 to 25. Founded in 2006, the New York-based company strives to spread the beauty and joy of China’s traditional culture, rooted in different spiritual beliefs, such as Buddhism and Taoism.
“Shen Yun represents the beauty of divine beings through classical dance,” explains performance presenter Wandi Zhu. “The production’s spiritual essence is integral, reflecting China’s history as a land believed to be a gift from the divine.”
An exploration of traditional Chinese culture
“Every aspect of Shen Yun, from the costumes to the movements, is designed to respect and revive traditional Chinese culture,” Zhu notes.
Its story is crucial in today’s world, Zhu says, because people’s perception of China is often limited to its politics and economy. “This art form reconnects people with the spiritual and cultural history of China before communism, much of which has been lost,” she says.
The performance can especially be appealing to Canadians because of its significant Chinese community. “It offers a connection to heritage for Chinese-Canadians. For the older generation, it’s a glimpse of home; for the younger, a reconnection with their culture,” Zhu says.
The appeal of Shen Yun goes beyond the Chinese community. “Its universal language of dance transcends cultural and linguistic barriers, making it accessible and resonant to any audience.”
Despite its global acclaim, Shen Yun faces challenges in China, where it’s banned. Among its subjects, for instance, are current human rights issues in that country.
“Many of Shen Yun’s artists had to flee China because of the oppressive government,” Zhu says, noting that for many, the dream is to have Shen Yun perform in China, and support a revival of the country’s pre-communist beauty.
Shen Yun 2024 in Canada promises an immersive experience into the depths of China’s rich spiritual and cultural history. For those looking to explore the essence of traditional Chinese culture or simply enjoy an evening of exquisite dance, Shen Yun is an unmissable event.