Shen Yun: Divine Dancing

Shen Yun is a performance that travels throughout China’s culture and history with divinity and grace. “Shen Yun is basically a journey through 5,000 years of this culture in...

Shen Yun is a performance that travels throughout China’s culture and history with divinity and grace.

“Shen Yun is basically a journey through 5,000 years of this culture in two hours through classical Chinese dance, which is one of the most rigorous disciplines in the world, and music,” says Enrico Trigoso, a music teacher at a Shen Yun branch school in California. At his school lots of dancers and musicians who perform in Shen Yun are trained. The main school is in New York.

Trigoso is a foremost expert not only in the composing field, but a passionate learner of Chinese history itself.

“I was born in China, lived in Spain, then went back to China. Because of my parents I’ve been in touch with the Eastern and Western cultures all my life. I am very interested in both cultures and Shen Yun happens to reflect a culture that is less known nowadays.”

He refers to the 5,000 years old Chinese civilization. His passion for accumulating knowledge about this vast culture stems from the belief systems and the music that has permeated Western culture to its roots, even if many may not immediately recognize it.

“It is less known particularly because Communist regimes took over in the 40’s, and then in the 60’s this movement called the ‘great cultural revolution’ systematically destroyed lots of artwork and culture. It became an atheist country. Societies that came from Taoism and Buddhism were treated as superstitions.”

This almost erasure of the Chinese memory meant that a lot of it had to be rediscovered and arranged for people to enjoy and learn from such a dense and sophisticated culture.

 “Shen Yun revives that, it’s really amazing,” Trigoso says. 

“When you see it you will notice it’s really special. You can see that the dancers are all involved in this meditation. You can see it in their bodies, you can see it in their smiles, their movements, and in the music. You can feel there’s really a spirituality to it, and it’s something we really need nowadays.”

Branching from this idea of spirituality and dance, Trigoso says, that to the Chinese, music was thought of to be medicinal.

“The writing for medicine is the same as music, just that it has a graph symbol on top. The Chinese knew that music could be like medicine, the spiritual quality.” These beliefs add to the fact that Shen Yun is a immensely uplifting and moving performance.

“Technology it has overwhelmed us, the massive consumption. I think it’s really refreshing to see something like this we don’t really get to see so often.”

Trigoso adds that taking some time to sit and digest the history, the mysticism and culture of China and its diverse palate allows us a moment of harmony and divinity, at least as close as we can come to it in two hours.

“In a world that we live today, so industrialized, it’s hard to get a sense of hope. So I think it involves everyone because the human is connected to the universe and to nature, so it transcends national boundaries that we have and it gives you hope of the future and of the divine, of your connection to heaven, as the Chinese would believe,” says Trigoso.

“The importance of Shen Yun is that it gives hope to humanity.”

Shen Yun Performing Arts will run at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 1-3, and at San Francisco War Memorial Opera House Jan. 5-10. Tickets at: and 888-633-6999.

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