BERLIN—Human rights spokesman Jürgen Braun, a member of the German federal parliament (Bundestag), was impressed with Shen Yun Performing Arts at Theater am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin on April 28.
“I’m very impressed with the athletic performances and the artistic expression. … I can appreciate how incredibly strong the athletic ambition is and the high [quality] performance,” he said.
“Everything is really so harmonious and … elegantly presented and also humanly moving at the same time.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based dances that tell tales from ancient times to the modern-day.
Mr. Braun was fascinated by the company’s patented method of integrating a 3D-animated backdrop with the stage performance. It allows the performers to travel seemingly back and forth between the stage and whatever scene is projected on the backdrop.
“You’re always swinging between the animation and real life, and that’s impressive,” he said. “Very cleverly combined with modern technology.”
China was once known as the “Land of the Divine” and Shen Yun presents this ancient culture by drawing upon the Middle Kingdom’s Buddhist and Daoist philosophies. In the past, artists looked to the divine for inspiration and cultivated virtue in order to create uplifting art. Today, Shen Yun’s artists follow in this noble tradition, which is why audiences feel there is something different about Shen Yun, the company’s website says.
Shen Yun often causes audience members to reflect on life.
“Thinking of higher values, thinking of a meaning of life in religion [is] something that connects all people in this world and I am very impressed with what is being achieved here,” Mr. Braun said.
“I can understand that people who are particularly moved by their worldview are, therefore, also capable of particularly high achievements. And to act together with a lot of discipline and joy of life, that’s really great.”
Since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006, its mission has been to revive Chinese traditional culture. The age-old culture has been on the brink of extinction since the Chinese communist regime seized power in 1949. Shen Yun says its performance this year demonstrates “China before communism.”
“What diversity, what life there was in this great China, … this long, long Chinese history before communism, before the seizure of power by the Chinese Communist Party happened,” Mr. Braun said.
Along with ancient myths and legends, Shen Yun presents story-based dances depicting the persecution of Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, a meditation and spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a persecution against the practice in 1999, and adherents have since been subjected to unprecedented imprisonment, torture, and abuse.
“We have to talk about that and we have to educate about that [persecution] because the Communist Party of China does not adhere to the rules that are simply valid worldwide and … have nothing in common with the tradition of the Chinese culture,” Mr. Braun said.
“The Chinese Communist Party has destroyed a lot of a great culture, you just have to emphasize that.”
Mr. Braun was impressed with the peaceful protests of the Falun Dafa adherents in China: “Despite how many years of persecution and severe suffering, … they hold on to this peaceful form of protest, … they maintain their tradition, their values, in a peaceful way.”
“I can only encourage them, that is a model for many, many other human rights movements in the world.”
Reporting by NTD and Jennifer Schneider.