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American Review Artist: Five Points on "Shen Yun"

   
   
   Core Tip: On December 24, 2017, Donald Munro, an American art critic, published an article on his personal website saying that “Demon Performance” is not just a party. It is instilling political and spiritual beliefs in the audience. Remind people who are fooled by advertisements to purchase tickets carefully.
   After the Christmas season, the “Shen Yun” performance returned to Fresno. There are some backgrounds to explain:
   One, endless advertising


   If the marketing activity of this tour is an ocean-going ship, it is a fearless class--a large-scale battleship with large-caliber cannons during the First World War that can destroy shores a few miles away. aims. The “Shen Yun” team uses all means to seize the market: billboards, television, radio, direct mail advertising, and expensive newspaper ads. These advertising costs amount to tens of thousands of dollars (even more in the top markets). “Shen Yun” seems to be everywhere – I found a familiar billboard when I drove through McAllen, Texas. Advertising is overwhelming. In fact, there are one or two dancers appearing on my front door and stuffing me with a booklet is enough.
   All these marketing activities will cost a lot of money. Even the support of "Falungong"'s strong financial resources makes people feel incredible.
   
    Second, expensive tickets
   
   "Shen Yun" performances also cost $80 for the cheapest seat at the William Saroyan Theater in Fresno. The maximum fare is $150. This is far more expensive than any repertoire I can think of in this theater, such as the top national tour musicals “The Witch of the Wicked Witch”, “The Book of Mormon” and “Phantom of the Opera” (the highest votes in 2016 The price is $103). Of course, the price of a large-scale evening party is determined by various factors, including the cost of the tour performance, the salary of the performers, and the market supply and demand situation. However, I can say without hesitation that the cost of seeing “Spirit” is not directly proportional to what you get.
   
    Third, wonderful dance
   They certainly spent a lot of time rehearsing. Last year I watched the performance of “Shen Yun” in Fresno. You can check out some of my comments on the Fresno Bee newspaper at
   
    http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/performing. -arts/donald-munro/article122000749.html#storylink=cpy.
   
   
    Fourth, "Shen Y" is not just a party
   It did demonstrate Chinese culture and art, but at the same time it also promoted "Falungong" in a crude manner. This is a beautiful and bizarre performance. It lingers between the two extremes. On the one hand, it is an excellent artistic performance. On the other hand, it is rude and clumsy to instill political opinions and spiritual beliefs into the audience.
   Some people say that the tone of the program is missionary, and some people say it is a beautiful proof of human toughness, and some people (including the Chinese government) call it naked political propaganda. In any case, one thing is clear: The creators of the program have proposed a series of political opinions. From a creative point of view, these views conflict with the artistry of the performance.
   My commentary on the Fresno Bee was like this:
   In one scene named “Child’s Choice,” the dancers played the “Falungong” disciples in a sit-in meditation. At this time, the Chinese government emerged and persecuted them. A mother was forced to separate from her child and rendered a tragic effect. Dark clouds, stage darkened.
   The second act is more political: it shows more "communist violence," and religious content is more pronounced (the soprano singer sings: "Many people have forgotten to find the precious book / Dafa has taught / the door to heaven will not Always open").
   There was something like a nuclear mushroom cloud in the electronic screen. An enlightened person appeared. The dancers worshipped him very much. Everyone put his hands together and bowed to him.
   I was thinking: Wow, who is this guy? What happened here? (Afterwards, I checked the information on the Internet and learned about some key figures of "Falungong.")
   
   
    V. The audience does not know what they are in
   I don't want to talk about "Shen Yun" to the point of selling dog meat, but marketing really hides some of the truth. All those beautiful billboards exaggerated the artistry, but they did not mention "Falungong." If you look closely at their website, you will find that they have hinted at spiritual beliefs and have revealed a bit of worries about the "compression" of the Communist Party. They say that the Chinese government believes that traditional culture is a threat to its power and therefore limits it.
   What I want to show is that art does not necessarily have to avoid politics. In fact, a long and rich tradition of art and politics can be reflected in each other, as is art and religion. But for those considering taking the $150 art tour, I fear that the producers did not specify their political and spiritual beliefs in their marketing materials and advertising.
(2018/05/22 发表)
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