She Fun: An update on the once-ubiquitous Shen Yun

Once upon a time, the world was blanketed in Shen Yun posters. And while the posters are no longer as ubiquitious as they once were, the Shen Yun show is back after a 1-year (2 years? What is time? Betty White died, and nothing matters) hiatus due to a lil virus my husband likes to call “Corvid.”

Same gorgeous costumes. Same weird-ass background screen. Same ban on alcohol causing us to rethink our decision to once again sit through that many hours of dancing. And, (wo)man, did we miss it!

Sneaking ONE photo in the theatre before the show; filtered because lighting was harsh.

People send me photos of poster sightings in the wild. Shen Yun posters are my love language.

I won’t go into the background on Shen Yun because I’ve already done that in my original should-have-been-award-winning blog post in 2020 (click here). And who wants to relive the past? New year, new you!

Click here to watch the official Shen Yun intro and Falun Dafa statement on China before communism. <<Warning: You may fall down the Shen Yun rabbit hole.>>

What I will do is provide an update, complete with new thoughts on this ancient art that dates back 5,000 years.

Sitting in the theatre, I was thinking that Shen Yun is a little bit West Side Story (the O.G., not the terrible new one), a little bit Martial Arts of Shaolin, and a little bit What’s Up, Tiger Lily?*

*Apologies for including a Woody Allen movie, but I loved this movie long before we learned that he’s a creep. Like, I used to rent it at Blockbuster—THAT long ago.

Maybe it’s the digital scenery on the background screen that made me think of WUTL because nothing else about Shen Yun is fake. It’s a highly difficult and practiced performance of dance and acrobatics. But this popped into my head, and I don’t know where my thoughts come from…*waves hands around at the ether*

This year, the show seemed shorter. Maybe it’s because I knew what to expect. That first time really punches you in the jaw.

Or maybe it’s because the director—see below—read the room and realized that we’re at our wit’s end with weirdness going into our third year in a pandemic.

Either way, there wasn’t as much anti-communist sentiment. Nearly all of the protest scenes were gone. And while there was the same story-telling aspect, the focus was more on the dancing. <<I’m not complaining: Water Sleeves FTW>>

Water sleeves dance at Shen Yun.
Click here for more info that I did not fact-check but that seems legit.

What I now refer to as She Fun—partly because it’s a major lady outing planned months in advance—has become a tradition. An enthusiastic friend and I get dressed up (no red clothes cuz red is for commies and Shen Yun ain’t about that life), grab snacks and drinks (at Anime this year, recommend!), and head to the theatre with full walktails (which included a sampler of airplane minis).

Anime in San Diego, with its gorgeous olive-green velvet dining room.
Pretty much just posting pictures from the internet at this point because photos are not allowed at Shen Yun.

The fact that Shen Yun is flourishing, with seven performance troops that travel the world (although not in China where it’s banned), speaks to its resilience and to the resilience of the human spirit. People want to live their truth, even in the face of tyrannical government. I gotta thinking there’s a metaphor for the U.S. in there somewhere, but this isn’t that kind of blog; I’m here to unite, not divide. But anyway, my Tuesday night, my choice to see 2.5 hours of Chinese ballet.

I don’t know why I’m so enchanted with D.F., but I imagine he leads a very interesting life.

I was ready to be entertained, and Shen Yun delivered. It’s still cute. It’s still maybe a cult. And big boi D.F. is still at the helm. She Fun forever!

Unfiltered, unbridled lady fun

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