MISSISSIAUGA, Canada—Business professionals were among the many arts lovers who packed the Living Arts Centre to see a sold-out performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts Saturday afternoon.
Colin Joseph, Director of Merchandising and Planning for Loblaw Companies Ltd., Canada’s largest food retailer, decided to attend the matinee performance with his young daughter Makenzie after she became transfixed by a flyer advertising the show.
“She was mesmerized by the colour of the costumes of the dancers in the pictures. We said I’d check it out, and here we are,” explained Mr. Joseph.
According to the performing arts company’s website, Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional Chinese attire and use bright colours to tailor and recreate hundreds of new pieces each season, giving meticulous attention to detail.
“The designers stress harmonic balance and contrast. Their objective is an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect,” says the website.
“The colorations are really cool,” said Mr. Joseph.
“We found the colours to be absolutely stunning and the classical Chinese dancing/athleticism was second to none.”
Beauty of Art in Stories
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. According to its website, the show aims to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture through the performing arts.
“Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day,” the website states.
Mr. Joseph said the story-based dances, which include true-life tales of persecution in modern-day China, were eye-opening.
“It’s good for that to come forward—just more information in terms of raising the level of awareness around the world and what other cultures, countries, may be experiencing other than your own,” he said.
“Shen Yun did a great job of blending the beauty of art with some deep-rooted social issues.”
Live Orchestra ‘part of the fun’
Advertising director Andrew Morton was also in attendance for the matinee performance.
“The colour and the abilities of the dancers is what struck me the most,” he said.
“Plus there is a relevant story, this is not fiction, this is the real story.”
Mr. Morton was impressed that Shen Yun has three companies that simultaneously tour the world, saying it was a great way to raise awareness about traditional Chinese culture as well as contemporary issues in China.
He said he decided to attend the show when he found out it had a live orchestra. Shen Yun’s orchestra is also unique, featuring traditional Chinese instruments blended into a philharmonic orchestra.
“That’s part of the fun, that genuine music along with the show,” he said, adding he appreciated Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops.
“The interactive display at the back of the stage is very nice, brings it all together,” he said.
Reporting by Justina Wheale, Matthew Little, and Lisa Ou
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will be in Mississauga until Dec. 23 before going to Ottawa and Montreal and other dates in Ontario, Quebec, and across Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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