Shen Yun Chinese dance troupe

One of seven touring groups devoted to sharing China’s traditional culture. The name means “beauty of divine dance.” Much emphasis on acrobatics and fluid motions.

A recurring theme was interaction with the divine, and one number set in the present day focused on two brothers, one a police officer and one who falls in love with a woman who practices Falun Gong —  a forbidden faith which, at least as dramatized in the dance, emphasizes meditation, harmony, healing and a Buddhist-like state of enlightenment.

The civilian brother is arrested and blinded as a medical procedure (organ harvesting, perhaps?), the police officer renounces his vocation, and a miraculous happy ending ensues.

One song included lyrics on the evils of atheism and questioning the acceptance of evolution.

Other performances were much more light-hearted, such as a monk who finds himself changing places with a kidnapped bride, and a scoundrel whose scolding wife is magically replicated by a magic flute.

Projections were used to great effect, particularly in scenes where divine beings drop out of the sky and hop onto the stage, and a stunning action sequence when an old master leaps off of a cliff to retrieve a sword.

The company of Chinese expatriates is based in New York, and aims to preserve the thousands of years of religious-inspired art that has been suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party — with a special emphasis on promoting Falun Gong.