Shen Yun at the Adler Theatre -- February 27.

Tuesday, February 27, 7 p.m.

Adler Theatre, 136 East Third Street, Davenport IA

Designed as a brilliant artistic revival and celebration of China’s rich cultural heritage, the stage artists of Shen Yun bring their national tour to Davenport's Adler Theatre on February 27, with the Chicago Tribune calling the event's performers "a beautiful and haunting ensemble" that boasts "a nimble mastery of traditional talents."

Shen Yun’s works are crafted to convey the extraordinary depth and breadth of genuine Chinese culture pre-Communism, and bring the magnificence of five thousand years of civilization back to life on stage. Each performance consists of about 20 pieces, quickly moving from one legend, region, or dynasty to the next. Themes range from the delicate elegance of Tang court ladies to the battlefield heroics of valiant generals, from the timeless philosophical works of Lao-Tzu to spectacular scenes of magical realms. Some pieces also touch upon the topic of today’s China, shedding light on the oppression many experience for their spiritual beliefs, such as Falun Dafa. These tales of courage are often what audience members find the most touching and uplifting.

Large-scale group dance is at the center of Shen Yun productions. Each touring company consists of about 40 male and female dancers, who mainly perform classical Chinese dances, making extensive use of acrobatic and tumbling techniques, forms and postures. Shen Yun's repertoire draws on stories from Chinese history and legends, such as the legend of Mulan, Journey to the West, and Outlaws of the Marsh. It also depicts "the story of Falun Gong today," and during the 2010 production, at least two of the 16 scenes depicted "persecution and murder of Falun Gong practitioners" in contemporary China, including the beating of a young mother to death, and the jailing of a Falun Gong protester. In addition to classical Han Chinese dance, Shen Yun also includes elements of Yi, Miao, Tibetan, and Mongolian dance.

Shen Yun performs three core elements of classical Chinese dance: bearing (emotion, cultural, and ethnic flavor), form (expressive movements and postures), and technical skill (physical techniques of jumping, flipping, and leaping). The dances, meanwhile, are accompanied by Chinese instruments: the pipa, suona, dizi, guzheng, and a variety of Chinese percussion instruments. A full Western orchestra leads the melodies, and there are solo performances featuring Chinese instruments such as the erhu in between dances. Frequently interspersed between dance sequences are operatic singers performing songs which sometimes invoke spiritual or religious themes, including references to the Falun Gong faith.

The national Shen Yun tour stops in Davenport on February 27, admission to the 7 p.m. performance is $83-153, and tickets are available by calling (800)745-3000 and visiting

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