Posted by: ktzefr | February 2, 2011

Celebrating Chinese New Year…with music, dance, and verse

Chinese New Year begins this Thursday.   Last weekend we went to see Shen Yun at the Kennedy Center to celebrate.

Shen Yun Performing Arts

Based in New York City, Shen Yun has performed on many stages around the world, but not in China.  The group makes a conscious effort to remain independent of China’s communist regime.  In fact, a show like Shen Yun’s, in its noble tradition of classical dance, music, and song, cannot be found in China today.

The show covers 5,000 years of China’s history and culture, drawing from 20 dynasties and 50 ethnic groups with ancient legends and modern-day stories.  Beautiful costumes, terrific performers. The colorful background changes throughout the program, from the steppes of Mongolia to the emerald forests of Yunnan.  Amazing show.




As I write this I’m listening to a CD by one of my favorite Chinese musicians — Jia Peng Fang.  “Silent Moon,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Rainbow,” “Memory of Childhood” — twelve compositions on the erhu.  The erhu is similar to a violin.  It has two strings and can produce beautiful, and sometimes profoundly sad, sounds.  Listen to “Silent Moon.”

Poetry and Pictures…


"Freedom" -- painting by Dylan Fawcett


“I’d like to draw–on chaste white paper–

a clumsy freedom, eyes that never wept,

a piece of sky, a feather, a leaf…

I’d like to draw dawn, the smile dew sees…

I want to draw a future I’ve never seen–

nor ever can… “

from “A Headstrong Boy”

by Gu Cheng




“From a snowy sky remote from humanity,

snowflakes striking become soundless tears…

My entire body glittering quicksilver,

my first song was in my youth…

I walked then/like water drawn up from a well.”

from “Remembering”  by Xue Di

“On the current of the river in/which you soaked your hands/my past flows by…

… Do not wait for me, standing/in misery.  Remember my poetry’s words.  I’ll bring/ to you the songs from vast fields…”

from “The Mushroom River” by Xue Di

“It is time/We stand like children/On the silent beach/And calmly wait for the moon…”

from “The Moon Rises Slowly Over the Ocean” by Xu De-min


“You/Look a while at me,/Look a while at a cloud./I feel/You are far away while looking at me,/So very close while looking at the cloud.”

from “Far and Close” by Gu Cheng


This new year is the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.  Are you a rabbit?  If so, you are supposed to be articulate, talented, and ambitious.  And you’re most compatible with those who are sheep, pigs, or dogs.  See the Chinese Zodiac HERE.

If you’re in the DC area this month, check out this year’s Chinese New Year Parade and Festival Activities in Washington, DC.


Shen Yun Performing Arts








  1. I love the story about you getting your photo taken — I have similar stories from my childhood — we were so impressionable and things weren’t always what they appeared to be. Also, I can see that Dylan looks like you when you were little!

    • I was totally holding back tears in this pic and was never looking in the right direction for some reason. It was a big deal to get portraits done back then, and families often had to save up for those pictures. In many ways the old photos are priceless.

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