The spectacle put on by Shen Yun Performing Arts is -- and yet isn't -- the usual classical Chinese song and dance. It's carried, on one hand, by an impressive cast of more than 100 dancers, choreographers and live musicians, and boasts a truckload of costumes to die for, plus beautiful sets and projections drawn in a candy shop full of colors. And Shen Yun's goal of encapsulating 5,000 years of lost Chinese culture in an evening's time is a lofty one. But know that it can also surprise audiences with an unexpected political stridency, which is built into the entertainment by its Falun Gong parent organization.
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Wherever you stand on the ongoing human-rights battle between the spiritual discipline's followers and the Chinese government, be prepared for a spot of melodramatic proselytizing along with your extravaganza, as it can be a little jarring. But still. There's a lot to enjoy in this spectacular show. Shen Yun brings both ultimate grace and a strong message to the Buell Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; for tickets, $50 to $150, call the Shen Yun hotline at 1-888-316-4234. For more on Shen Yun, go to www.shenyun2012.com.
Feb. 22-23, 7:30-10:15 p.m., 2012