Rapid City hosts Shen Yun, a performance through 5,000 years of Chinese history

Shen Yun
Shen Yun(KOTA)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:17 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Rapid City is known for being the City of Presidents located in the Black Hills, and near national monuments like Mount Rushmore that reflect the Nation’s history.

However, Shen Yun is a performance that’s coming to Rapid City and showcases a different history. That of the Chinese.

This is the first time the performance is in Rapid City. It uses artistic mediums like music and dance to educate and entertain audiences through five thousand years worth of Chinese history.

There are 20 pieces during the show that span over the course of two hours. There’s a live orchestra with 40 dancers and 30 musicians. Each part is led with an M.C. that sets the scene for that period of history.

A common misconception is that the group works out of China, but everything from production to props is done in the U.S., as David Zhang, the Assistant Director of West Coast Shen Yun Community Outreach, says the show is prohibited in China.

The group works on the notion that dance and music are universal languages that are capable of telling any story.

Zhang says, “I feel like this is something really important. People understand culture, they think about kung pow chicken or fortune cookies. But, there is so much more culture in the history five thousand years can offer, and that’s through this performance, dance and music. Through all of those stories you’ll be able to grasp the essence of the Chinese culture.”

Zhang says 70 years ago the communist party took over in China and began censorship, taking away the ability to freely express yourself. He says that the performers are trying to revive traditional Chinese culture, and that he’s hopeful that one day they can perform in China, but that it will probably be when the communist party is no longer in power.

The tagline of this years historical performance is China before Communism.

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