One Westerner’s fascination with traditional Chinese culture took him to China, but the experience didn’t live up to his expectations. When he arrived, he found that it was a communist society, not rich with the culture and philosophy that had captivated him.
It was only after he returned to the United States that he found the true China he had dreamed about—in a most unexpected place.
He says that after encountering Shen Yun, a U.S.-based classical Chinese dance company, he discovered the true China, untainted by communist influence. He is now a master of ceremonies for the company.
“I heard about Shen Yun and I came to Shen Yun. And I thought, this is exactly what I had been interested in from the get-go,” Madsen said. “We can portray it on stage, things that I’ve been thinking about, only trying to imagine what it was like in my head—and then I get to see it on stage, I get to see people portray these roles. I was blown away. I had to be part of Shen Yun.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, an ancient culture centered around harmony between heaven, earth, and humankind—a culture said to be passed down from the divine. The classical Chinese dance style the company performs in dates back at least 3,000 years, to the grand courts of Chinese emperors.
What Shen Yun is trying to revive is everything the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been working to destroy since the Party’s inception.
The CCP also talks about a traditional Chinese culture, but how is that different from what Shen Yun represents?
“When they do talk about the traditional Chinese culture, they use it to try to end up promoting communism,” Madsen said.
This weekend, Shen Yun will perform its first show since the pandemic shut down theaters over a year ago. Madsen said he can’t wait to once again time travel to ancient China, together with the audience.