KITCHENER-WATERLOO,Canada—On Friday night, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company performed at the city’s Centre in the Square theatre. The show was sold-out like most of its shows in Eastern Canada, showing the audience’s appreciation for high-class artistry and authentic culture.
Established in 2006 by a group of overseas artists, the New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts has set out to reclaim and renew China’s traditional, divinely inspired heritage. And audiences are in for a treat.
In the audience on Friday was art studio owner Donna Hirtle. Ms. Hirtle teaches creative art workshops, sells high quality art supplies and gifts, and also exhibits works by local artists.
Ms. Hirtle summarized her impressions on Shen Yun.
“It’s beautiful,” she said echoing many of the audience members interviewed following the show.
She found Shen Yun to be “rich in colour and theatrics and storytelling,” adding that it’s “just a marvelous history.”
Through colourful performances, Shen Yun takes audiences on a tour of China’s history from its divinely inspired origins to contemporary tales of courage, stopping along the way to visit beautiful landscapes, imperial palaces and heavenly realms.
“I have so much to learn,” said Ms. Hirtle. “It shows me how much I have to learn about Chinese culture. It’s incredible,” she said.
Accompanying Ms. Hirtle was her friend Doylene Parker, a materials coordinator with dance experience and a black belt in karate. She also harbours a love of Eastern culture.
“There’s a lot history. China has got history unlike we got in North America. It’s a very old culture,” she said.
As a dancer, Ms. Parker noted the agility of the young artists. “It’s a lot of work to dance, to do that kind of performance and all the acrobatics: the flips and front walk-overs that they’re doing over there, it’s phenomenal,” she said.
Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, involving rigorous, systematic training in basic skills, as well as physical expression, specific postures and difficult techniques.
Reporting by SOH Radio Network and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. With its two shows in Kitchener-Waterloo now finished, Shen Yun’s New York Company will go on to Hamilton (Jan. 12-13) for three shows and finish its tour of eastern Canada in Toronto (Jan. 17-20) with five shows at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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