VANCOUVER, Canada—Architect Chris Browne said Shen Yun Performing Arts’ design elements were simply exhilarating after seeing the Jan. 10 opening performance at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Mr. Browne said the combination of dance, digital effects, culture and history was very effective and surreal.
“It carries you away,” he said.
“From a design perspective it is very simple, and yet very transporting. Everything is very simple when you break it down to its finest elements, but so exhilarating when you put it together.”
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company that aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Through a collection of story-based dances accompanied by a live orchestra, vocal soloists, and digitally animated backdrops, the performance aims to capture the essence of China’s divinely inspired culture.
Mr. Browne was impressed with Shen Yun’s interactive backdrops. According to the Shen Yun website, the backdrops act as an extension of the stage and reflect China’s multifaceted geography, society, regions, and dynasties. With finely tuned precision, at some moments in the performance dancers appear to jump directly in and out of the digital screen.
“It is very clever he way the characters appear and then disappear off the stage,” said Mr. Browne, adding the dancer’s talent brought a magical quality to the performance.
“It was delightful. I was transported particularly by the male dancers, and the [flips and jumps] were just amazing—So light on their feet and so expressive.”
One of the most memorable moments in the show was a piece titled When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor, Mr. Browne said. The dance is set at the famed Shaolin monastery, where monks must battle ruffians to protect the founder of the Tang Dynasty, Tang Taizong.
“The Shaolin monks was very good,” he said “It was sort of funny and still very impressive choreography.”
Mr. Browne also appreciated the humour throughout the performance, which helped make the traditional culture more accessible to modern society, he said.
“It was interesting to see that in the context of what is otherwise a very formal culture,” he said. “There was a bit of humour through everything which was quite fun.”
Reporting by Chen Si and Justina Wheale.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will play five shows in Vancouver Jan. 10-13, while the New York Company will complete its tour of eastern Canada with five shows in Toronto Jan. 17–20. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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