HAMILTON, Canada—It was Gary Lazar’s first time to see Shen Yun Performing Arts when the actor attended the renowned classical Chinese dance production at Hamilton Place Theatre on Saturday night.
One of the aspects that he found most impressive about the show was the state-of-the-art animated backdrops.
“I think the backdrop that they have is cool, how the dancers go behind and then it shows on the screen, and how that’s all connected,” said Mr. Lazar, who has been acting since he was little and is currently working in commercials, television, and film, having dreams of bigger roles.
“I thought that was extremely impressive how they did that,” he added, praising the digital projections designed to complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, colours, choreography, props, story, sound effects, even particular notes played by the orchestra.
New York-based Shen Yun, founded in 2006, takes as its mission the revival of China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture, which has all but been completely destroyed following 60 years of communist rule in the Middle Kingdom.
Each year the company tours the world with an all-new program of classical Chinese dance and music, featuring a collection of short pieces that take audiences on a journey across the vast regions and long history of China.
The digital backdrops are an often-praised element of the show. Projected behind the dancers, stunning images provide vivid settings for each dance, from blossoming landscapes to deep green forests, from imperial palaces to celestial paradises.
Besides the theatrical effect of the backdrops, Mr. Lazar was impressed by the costume design and live orchestra and also complimented the dancers for their artistic skill and athletic ability.
“It’s interesting—how they do all the movements,” he said, especially noting the height to which the male dancers are able lift their legs.
“I wish I could do those flips, and maybe the leg highs,” he added.
Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, as explained on the Shen Yun website.
It is composed of three main parts: bearing, form, and technical skill. In addition to complete training in the fundamentals, it also entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques.
“It’s just amazing,” Mr. Lazar concluded about the show.
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will play three shows in Hamilton on Jan. 12-13 before going on to Toronto for five shows, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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