Id like to tell everyone of an upcoming show featuring at the Southbank Centre in London for 3 nights, from 22nd-24th Feb 2008.
Its the Chinese spectacular- Shen Yun. This show is set to travel to 65 different cities worldwide and will soon be arriving in London.
Based on ancient Chinese culture, heroic legends,the spirit and mystery of times past, the whole show is inspirational and exciting.
Shen Yun brings to life 5000 years of Chinese history and traditional culture. Through a visual impact it delivers magical performing acts. The audience is tantalised by the 100 dancers, singers, musicians and orchestra, all of whom deliver this spiritual explosion upon stage.
Based on the Tang, Song and Qing Dynasties, the divine charm of Shen Yun is unmissable.
I was lucky enough to see last years show and it really is this good.
It does. I also found this on youtube http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZQVNuz0biXM
hope this link works
Or just search on youtube for Chinese Spectacular for loads of clips and news reports.
Its a shame its not coming 'up north'. Any idea of ticket prices/discounts?
I'll definitely try to see this. Thanks for the tip-off.
Ticket prices vary from a heady £55 to a not-bad-for-London £15. Both are too rich for my blood and finances (I'm retired) so I've applied for a press ticket on the grounds that I write for a Chinese website.
I see your interested in China and have written some film reviews. Did you get chance to see Beyond The Red Wall.? http://davidkilgour.ca/2007/Dec_06_2007_01a.htm
I'm not sure if this is the censored version or not.The CCP weren't too keen on the uncensored version been shown ... http://www.dianaswednesday.com/2007/11/beyond-the-red-wall/
No, I didn't, Nick, but I did see a film on DVD that was about Falun Gong's activities in a Northern Chinese village. I'll look it out - it was one of the DVDs I brought back from China, I think.
The plot concerned a young student's return to her home to find family members and neighbours encouraged to starve themselves to death after joining the sect. Although it didn't make any sense, because the thinking behind the suicides was not explained, I could see why the religion might be banned. The action mainly centred around trying to persuade local officials to take action and to rescue the victims, most of whom were past reasoning with. Most of them were either old people or sick children, so maybe it was a bit like those religions which refuse certain forms of treatment.
Hi, I think youve been very misled by the CCP. As a practitioner myself I am all to aware of the propaganda used by the Chinese Government to discredit the Falun Gong meditation group. And with Chinas control over the media I'm sure you've only been given one side of the story.
Actually life is cherished as it is only when alive can we improve our charachter according to the principles Zhen Shan Ren (truthfulness, compassion and tolerance)
Also in Zhuan Falun there is a big section about Bigu (isolating yourselves in caves etc and not eating)and why it doesn't apply to the cultivation methods used in Falun Gong. The main reasons in my understanding are that we cultivate both mind and body, hence having a healthy pure body is essential. Also the ancient cultivation ways that used bigu had to consume their own energy to survive hence the whole cultivation process was longer.And time is precious.
Thanks for your reply though and I hope you get to watch the film
All the best
I have already seen the film, but couldn't remember its title, so would have to look among the Chinese DVDs I have. I happened to buy it from the local DVD store but I expect the representation was, as you say, quite one-sided.
I was surprised at China's tolerance of religion and I attended a church in the city where I worked, from 2002-2004. You can read about it in my archive, in a piece called 'Silkworms and Snow - A Church Service'. An American colleague who was an elderly Franciscan monk worshipped at the Catholic church.
There was a fine Taoist temple in the local park, which the monks opened to visitors for about 2 yuan. It had escaped ruin in the Cultural Revolution because the city was quite distant from the capital.
I think the main thing was you were not allowed to try to make converts or do things like ostentatiously read the bible in public places.
I'm not really religious, but I still have the Chinese hymn book I bought at the church shop.
I look forward to reading some of your writing.
I just watched a programme on BBC 2 caled Extreme Pilgrim. A priest is trying out different religions. I thought it was a bit wrong of him to go to China when as you say your not allowed to read the real bible in public. And nothing was said about the 'underground churches' or persecution of Christians there. Bit of a sell out if you ask me..
I have to confess I'm not much of a writer I only wrote one piece about 'calling in the plumbers' I was enticed by the message about the show. I love traditional chinese stuff.
All the best with getting the tickets! maybe I'll see you there.
In the city where I lived there were three big thriving Christian churches, although not many foreigners - in factI was the only non-Chinese in the church I went to. The year before I was in a southern province where I was also invited inside a church. I must say I was quite surprised the first time. I think the churches do have to be registered, though.
Have you been to China yourself?
I haven't been to China, I don't think I would be allowed. The authorities haves a pretty thorough list of Falun Gong practitioners and I would most likely be arrested or just sent straight back again. My brother went over about 6 years or go and held up a banner in Tianamen Sq, which said Falun Gong is good. He was arrested for a while and his details taken, making it even harder for me to go.
As I mentioned I really like the traditional side to chinas culture. And with the redevelopment for Olympics and other things, there isn't much of this left any more. I think Hong Kong has a lot more of the tradition still. I'd quite like to go there. You offering to pay?
Yes, I see what you mean. However, I doubt if they keep lists and provided you don't call attention to yourself you would be fine. As you say, even if you wave a flag in Tiananmen Square, as a foreigner you'd only be questioned and asked to leave.
Seriously, though, if you want to test whether or not you'd be allowed in you could apply to work there, as I did. I was a teacher so had no trouble getting a job but I know there is such a demand that they will accept anyone who is a native speaker.
As for ancient Chinese culture, it was fine if you were one of the 5% who made up the elite families. Where did you do your studying?
Strangely enough, I'd forgotten all about this discussion, but when someone was offering leaflets outside my Chinese class I was definitely up for seeing the show. I write for a website called Dimsum. There's no pay, but I can get to see the shows for free. I was allocated two seats in the front stalls at the RFH yesterday, a real treat for me and my husband.I was a bit surprised by an American MC, and to learn it was a New York based troupe, but fair enough.A bit glittery and slick, but more or less based on Chinese traditional stuff, and the orchestra and dancers were superb. The emphasis was on Buddhist and Daoist beliefs about the afterlife.
Things turned sinister towards the end of the first half. A dance drama showed Chinese police beating up a couple of women imprisoned for religious beliefs. Then there was a song, supposedly about a Chinese woman thinking of her folks at New Year and reminding them 'Dafa hao' -'Da fa' would be good. Suddenly it clicked - Dafa is the name the Falun Gong call their divine being. By chance I'd also rewatched the DVD , 'Out of the Death Trap' , about people in a Chinese village dying because a strange new cult didn't hold with medical intervention.
By the end of the interval there were six empty seats around me and a growing unease in the audience. Another dance drama was even worse, with a young child flung across the stage (all done in dance) and some people defending her and her mother against Chinese police.
This morning I was in a quandary. The show was slick, and entertaining, no doubt about it. But how to recommend to a Chinese readership a show that attacked their government? By this time I'd read in the programme that the 'most of the performers practised the princilpes of Falun Gong'. There had been no indication of this at all in the pre-show notices. I decided to ring the RFH.
It seems my query was was one of many, including some from representatives from the Chinese Embassy. It's a shame if the Chinese government think such a prestigious body as the RFH is sanctioning criticism at such a sensitive time, not to mention the audience which was predominantly Chinese. It isn't as if it were a discussion forum with both side giving their views. I wondered if the RFH had been aware in advance of the content.
My point is that it should have been billed as 'The Falun Gong Show' and everybody would know where they stood. I felt suckered into going along with it. How I would have felt if I'd been Chinese and paid £55 for the seat, thinking I was going to see just traditional songs and dances? I imagine I'd be very angry.
When I lived in China I regularly attended Christian church services and visited Buddhist and Taoist temples.In fact, I was surprised at the level of religious tolerance.
I've decided not to write a review, but if anyone wants to read about a genuine Chinese/UK collaboration show with no covert message, there's my review of the Five Circles Arts Festival on the review forum.
Thank you for returning to this, Sheila. It is not nice being suckered into a show with a covert message. If artists want to make a statement, it really should be made up front, before the audience hand over their dosh. £55 is not small change.
Glad you feel as I do about this, Naomi. I was in two minds, really, because I'm all in favour of people criticising government oppression, etc - there's a lot of it going on globally and I'm glad when journalists call attention to it. However, it should be done openly and in a debate forum or in a format that allows some feed-back before people pay out a lot of money. The other thing is that people be donated money in the way of profits to a cause they don't necessarily support.
In the end I decided to complain to the RFH because I think that there may be a trickle-down effect to other venues to make the marketing more honest.