Prepare to be amazed, because Shen Yun Performing Arts returns to Florida for the fifth consecutive year, with performances at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa on Saturday-Sunday, March 3–4. The New York-based company will unveil an entirely new array of colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dance, song and musical numbers.

A Shen Yun performance is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization.

Established in New York in 2006, Shen Yun Performing Arts has performed to acclaim in more than 100 cities worldwide for more than 800,000 audience members. At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance, with China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles, and masterful vocalists and musicians rounding out the evening.

In a collection of nearly 20 short dance pieces with breathtaking digital backdrops, audiences are transported from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions, from the legends of the Chinese culture’s creation more than 5,000 years ago to contemporary tales of courage, from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom.

Absorbing profound wisdom from every era and dynasty of China’s history, classical Chinese dance has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles. Through dance, the ancient Chinese showed their respect for the divine, their appreciation of life and the universe and their esteem for piety and virtue. The cultural substance behind classical Chinese dance imbues a dancer’s movements with rich, expressive power.

Story-based dances that explore a range of themes from ancient to modern times are one of Shen Yun’s trademarks. See the mighty powers of China’s Monkey King, join the legendary heroine Mulan on her daring quest and glimpse the courage of Falun Dafa practitioners in China today. Such dances deliver a dramatic intensity to every Shen Yun performance.

Besides having to master the three main components of classical Chinese dance — bearing, form, and technical skill — the dancers must strive to cultivate themselves, endeavoring to perfect their moral character and will.

Shen Yun’s one-of-a-kind orchestra, with its all-original compositions, blends the musical traditions of East and West like no other. The distinctly Chinese sound of ancient instruments like the bamboo flute and pipa are bathed in a rich sea of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.

The result is two great classical traditions producing one fresh, unexpected sound. Award-winning vocalists perform piano-accompanied solos, along with a regular favorite — the stirring melodies of the two-stringed erhu.

Shen Yun Performing Arts kicked off its 2012 World Tour in Dallas, Texas last month and will visit cities in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Tickets are now on sale for the March 3–4 performances at the Straz Center for Performing Arts. For more information, call the Straz Center Box office at 229-7827or visit — Submitted to the Neighborhood News

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