MONTREAL—Watching a Shen Yun show is like travelling through time and space. The New York based classical Chinese dance and music company takes its audiences on a tour of China’s landscapes and history – from sea shores to the Himalayan mountains, from its 5,000 year-old beginnings to today.
A giant animated backdrop, which often interacts with the dancers, adds a touch of magic, alongside colourful costumes and a unique orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments in a fresh, harmonious sound.
“What I really appreciated is the multimedia staging [the animated backdrop] where the characters come from the screen onto the stage. I found this to be spectacular,” said Mr. Gérald Élysée, président of Cyber Concept, a business that specializes in strategic counselling for companies. A doctor by training, he is also a writer.
Mr. Élysée and his wife Anne-Marie Demers took in Shen Yun’s first sold-out show on Thursday night at Montreal’s Place des Arts.
For Ms. Demers, it’s the spiritual aspect of the show that interested her the most.
The Chinese people have traditionally believed their culture was divinely inspired, and it is this spirituality that Shen Yun has set out to revive on stage.
Ms. Demers who practices qigong, a form of traditional Chinese meditation and exercises was particularly attuned to the dancers’ movements. “I find them very beautiful and very inviting,” she said.
The couple are seasoned theatregoers, but this was their first time watching classical Chinese dance. Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, passed down among the people, through the imperial courts and through ancient plays.
It is also one of the ways in which Chinese culture has been passed down and retained through 5,000 years.
Reporting by Mathieu Côté-Desjardins and Nathalie Dieul
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. After playing five shows in Montreal Jan. 3-6, Shen Yun’s New York Company will play one show in Quebec City on Jan. 8 before going on to Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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