TORONTO—Shen Yun Performing Arts was an inspiration and a visual treat for Mahsa Ghorbankarimi, the art director at March Entertainment, a Toronto-based award-winning production company specializing in animated TV shows for kids.
“I loved it, it was beautiful in so many different ways for me,” she said after seeing the acclaimed classical Chinese dance performance at Toronto’s Sony Centre on Saturday night.
“If I can call myself an artist, I was impressed by it in so many different ways,” she noted.
“I loved the colours of the costumes … and the softness of the dance, which was matching with the softness of the costumes. It was creating a heavenly beauty visually. I really, really enjoyed it.”
She was deeply impressed by the “softness in the movements” of the dance itself, said Ms. Ghorbankarimi, who has over 15 years of professional experience and has worked at a number of renowned animation studios on feature films and award-winning television projects.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tehran University after placing third in Iran’s highly competitive Concours university entrance exam, ahead of more than a million applicants, as noted in her biography on the March Entertainment website.
“It’s so incredible that it just gives you such an out-of-this-world feeling, which was really enjoyable. I enjoyed my time,” Ms. Ghorbankarimi said.
Shen Yun uses its own state-of-the-art technology to help bring the audience to another world, “one where heaven and earth are one,” states the company’s website.
That technology is Shen Yun’s vividly animated digital backdrop, which Ms. Ghorbankarimi said she enjoyed thoroughly.
The movements in the traditional Chinese dance to me were really inspiring and beautiful.
— Art director Mahsa Ghorbankarimi
“The backdrop is quite incredible. I love the fact that the characters were going into the backdrops and coming to life—that was really nice. The colours were absolutely beautiful. Overall the production values were quite high and amazing.”
Ms. Ghorbankarimi said the interactions between the dancers onstage and the animations on the backdrop were an unexpected surprise.
“Even the costumes of the characters in the backdrop were exactly matching with the characters that were coming to life [onstage], which was really nice.”
Also amazing, she said, was the choreography of the dance.
“It was just a heavenly visual beauty to me. That was the most important part.”
She said being a choreographer is one of her dreams—a dream that was stirred by the Shen Yun performance.
“One of my dreams is that I would actually like to make a CG (computer-generated) character and choreograph it to dance with some of the music that I like, some classical music that I like. I absolutely will integrate some of these specific movements from Chinese dance into that, if I ever do it,” she said.
“The movements in the traditional Chinese dance to me were really inspiring and beautiful.”
Although Shen Yun presents over 20 pieces, each set in historic scenes or the classic settings of China’s diverse ethnicities, two of the dances deal with the modern-day suppression of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese meditation practice that was seen as a revival of Chinese traditional spirituality in the 1990s before it was outlawed by the communist regime.
Ms. Ghorbankarimi said she was pleased to see that in the performance.
“One of the most important reasons for art is to actually express your feelings and your point of view, which was beautifully addressed there, which was really incredible.”
As art director, Ms. Ghorbankarimi curates the final look of the production, including lighting and compositioning.
She said Shen Yun gave her inspiration.
Reporting by NTD Television and Matthew Little
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Following 21 successful shows Dec. 20-Jan. 13 in Mississauga, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton, Shen Yun’s New York Company finishes its run of five shows in Toronto on Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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