Traditional Chinese dance, instrumentation, costumes, and storytelling all fascinate me. This attraction is one of my earliest memories. As a very small child I actually snuck into my mother’s bedroom and borrowed her Mandarin collared satin pajama top. Too short for the sleep pants, I eschewed them for the look of a Cheongsam style dress.
(Not that I knew that word then, mind you. Nonetheless, my family still recalls their amusement upon seeing my fashionista strut, long sleeves bunched at the elbows so my little hands were not engulfed.)
Decades after that incident, the Shen Yun Performing Arts touring company began visiting my part of the United States each winter. Formed in 2006, their group and solo presentations comprise twenty vignettes over some two and a half hours. The posters alone capture my imagination.
But in the past I could not justify spending the money. Then an idea struck. My birthday celebration traditionally involves a rather expensive gourmet meal. Why not invest in something much more enriching? So instead of anticipating an overpriced meal, I possess two balcony seat tickets for the 2015 production.
This seemed worth sharing as I cannot help thinking of Julia Cameron’s “Artist’s Way” sensibilities. As Ms. Cameron might say, this cultural extravaganza will surely refill my artistic well.
Of course, a little research seemed in order. And some quick findings shocked me. Please forgive this downturn, but I already knew Shen Yun does not perform in mainland China. Additionally, the Chinese government has attempted show cancellations via political pressure. Chinese diplomats even lobby Western elected officials to shun what they term propaganda intended to smear China’s image.
Further reading led me even further down the proverbial rabbit hole. Apparently Shen Yun founders adhere to the spiritual discipline Falun Gong, which literally translates as “Dharma Wheel Practice”. Main focuses center upon morality and virtue. Elements include a mixture from the Buddhist school of thought and Taoist tradition. All this stirred my interest, even my very soul.
Yet the Communist Party of China persecutes these cultivators. How could anyone oppose truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance? Well, the answer is anyone who believes religious tenets and independence from the state threaten the party line. Reading the reported human rights abuses against uncounted practitioners raised the hair on the back of my neck.
I sometimes miss being that naïve little girl playing dress up.
That said, learning all this only makes me more intrigued about the upcoming show. However fervent any sponsoring Falun Dafa Association may be, I do not anticipate some pushy (or even subtle) sort of recruitment before, during, or after the program. At the same time I’m curious if a regional association does exist.
Quite frankly, I think meditative movements such as the Falun Gong adherents employ are greatly beneficial to both body and mind even without deep spiritual exploration. To my chagrin, I must now admit total reluctance to abandon human desires. Sexy stories are my favored artistic outlet, after all.
I can certainly respect those willing to rise above earthly attachments they perceive detrimental. In the meantime there exist more elementary outlets through which to explore qigong exercises. Most importantly, I find myself grateful yet again for the incredible freedoms into which this humble soul was born.
Now that you’ve learned my latest revelation, what recent internet research most surprised you?