KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts left author and speaker Richelle Hunt-McPhail with deep thoughts.
She attended the sold-out final show of the renowned classical Chinese dance company at Centre In The Square on Friday night and found herself greatly moved.
“I found myself smiling, I found myself teary, it’s wonderful, and this is my first show.”
Ms. Hunt-McPhail was brought to Shen Yun as a gift from her friend Tom Hiller, who works at Waterloo-based Research In Motion.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every piece of the show.”
Having had co-workers of Chinese heritage made the show all the more special for Ms. Hunt-McPhail.
“I was so impressed, … there’s just so much to China and Chinese culture,” she noted. “I’ve had [Chinese] colleagues and I love them to death but I’ve never thought about China in the same way. This is a wonderful night.”
Shen Yun was founded on a mission of reviving China’s divinely inspired culture. After 60 years of communist rule in China, especially during the so-called Cultural Revolution, that culture was all but completely demolished.
Shen Yun, which is based in New York, was established by overseas Chinese artists who had a wish to restore and revive the virtues on which China was built: benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution.
“Every single part moved me in some way,” Ms. Hunt-McPhail said. “The beauty of the country, the beauty of the dance, the elegance.”
It was an evening of elegance and divinity, she said.
She especially noted the dance Sand Monk is Blessed, a comical piece about a monk’s adventures on a pilgrimage to seek Buddhist scriptures, based on the beloved Chinese classic Journey to the West.
Ms. Hunt-McPhail said the piece was fun and insightful about the evolution of Chinese culture.
In the end, Shen Yun left her with “big thoughts [about] reincarnation, and the luck of being human, and hope, and beauty,” she said.
Ms. Hunt-McPhail is an author, educator, and speaker, most known for authoring the book Life After Jamie, the story of triumph in regaining her life after the death of her beloved husband.
She taught for nearly 30 years as a professor at Fleming College and Trent University, and now works as an educator, speaker, and counsellor.
Reporting by NTD Television and Matthew Little.
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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