TORONTO—Jonathan and Sherry Devlin have a special appreciation of the visual presentation of Shen Yun Performing Arts from their professional perspective, as they are both artists themselves.
“Beautiful, very beautiful,” Mr. Devlin said after seeing the world-renowned classical Chinese dance production Thursday on opening night at Sony Centre.
“I’d say it’s a must-see—you must see it,” said the veteran painter, who said he works with acrylics and mostly paints portraits and people, and noted that he has been painting “since I could crawl, before I could walk—40 years.”
While her husband lauded all aspects of the show, from the colours and costumes to the overall design and professional calibre, Mrs. Devlin especially pointed to the stunning backdrops and the theatrical presentation as aspects that stood out for her.
“They’re beautiful,” she said of the backdrops. “From the theatre aspect, it was done really, really well.”
New York-based Shen Yun was founded in 2006 with the mission of reviving the divinely inspired traditional culture of China, which has a history of 5,000 years.
The company tours the world each year with an all-new production of mainly classical Chinese dance, along with Chinese ethnic and folk dance as well as virtuoso soloists accompanied by a live orchestra.
The state-of-the-art animated backdrops are a feature of the show that audiences often marvel at, designed to complement and synchronize every aspect of the performance—the characters, storyline, dance movements, costumes, music, even the lighting and sound effects.
Mrs. Devlin noted her enjoyment of Shen Yun’s storytelling through musical theatre. In a collection of mini-dramas, the show tells stories and legends that span China’s long history, from the Yellow Emperor through the Tang and Song dynasties all the way to the modern day.
“The way they put it together in the show was really great. It told the story from beginning to the finish,” Mrs. Devlin said. “It didn’t have any parts where you were missing something, which is really good when you’re telling a story with theatre,”
She added praise for the original designs of traditional attire, striking in their brilliant colours.
“I liked the outfits especially, the dresses and the costumes,” she said.
“Everything was done well. It was very good,” Mr. Devlin said.
With reporting by Becky Zhou and Cindy Chan
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 will play five shows in Toronto Jan. 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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