The Best Show: Spirit of China

Zi Yun

PureInsight | May 30, 2012

[] With moral degeneration, China’s semi-divine culture was severely damaged. When art was manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to sustain its totalitarianism, very few Chinese had the backbone to stand up for their belief.

That is why I was thrilled to see the Shen Yun Performing Arts’ program, Manchurian Guards, since they are the way Chinese men are supposed to be. After the curtain lifts, the artists appear with fans in their hands. Their clothes are white, embroidered with blue edging, which matches the white clouds, blue sky, and white snow on the digital backdrops. Against the white background, the guard’s black hats and black boots made them appear especially energetic. The guards stand next to the royal palace, as if safeguarding the Chinese spirit. Interestingly, unlike killers who carry knives or swords, the guards were holding fans—brave and elegant. Despite Shen Yun's renowned performance, I always assumed fans belonged to girls. The fans can emphasize feminine gentleness and introversion. The unique dance with boys holding fans must have some deeper meaning.

On the stage, the dancers were flipping swiftly like birds or jumping up high like martial arts masters. They sometimes dashed the fans with great strength and sometimes waved them in a well-ordered array. The white costumed dancers and the blue fans compliment the white clouds in the blue sky on the backdrop screen. It is hard to tell if the dancers are dancing in the sky, or the clouds came to help the dancers. In any case, this is a great and harmonized picture that the audiences truly enjoy.

Guards are usually considered ruthless since their job is to kill people. However, these people have the mission to protect emperors and help pass on the Chinese semi-divine culture. Therefore, they need to have wisdom, bravery, and strong martial arts skills. Fans are unique tools that can be used for decoration by scholars during normal times, as well as weapons to attack when assassins came. It is known that the core of Chinese culture is virtue, which is connected with heavenly laws. The same blue color of the fans and the sky is like the harmony of people's minds with divine culture. Although Kangxi Emperor did not appear in this program, it is not hard for us to connect this program to the glorious Kangxi-Qianlong Era in the Qing Dynasty.

The spirit of Chinese martial arts is also focusing on virtue, not fighting. That is, one should follow the good and defeat the vicious. On the stage, each actor is very skilled. From their coordinated movement, we can tell their hearts are also connected. They all have the same mission, that is, do their best with their pure heart to present genuine Chinese spirit. They are doing this to revive the lost semi-divine culture and rectify the damaged caused by the CCP.

The Shen Yun performance is not available in China yet. After the CCP took power, it suppressed the people and controlled their minds with atheism. When people's minds are no longer connected with the divine or tradition values, they lose the basis of conscience and are unable to tell right from wrong. Greed for material possessions led to moral degeneration, corruption, and various social problems. The Chinese semi-culture has become unfounded and lost its inner meaning.

Now, Shen Yun has brought genuine Chinese culture to the fore. Its purity, compassion, and beauty have touched the souls of people. The program we discussed above highlighted the spirit of Chinese culture, that is, to stand up straight and uphold truth. We should cherish this opportunity so that more people can join the effort to revive Chinese culture to benefit ourselves and our offspring.

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