KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—It was a night to celebrate for Kirk and Ilda Oliver, a birthday gift that left Mrs. Oliver lighter on her feet.
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver attended the opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts show at Centre In The Square theatre Thursday Jan.10.
Mr. Oliver describes himself as an accountant, but his LinkedIn profile describes him as the Chief Financial Officer at the Library Services Centre, formerly the Controller at AV-BASE Systems.
He said he was impressed by the performance.
“You’re amazed by the beauty of the costumes, by the athleticism of the dancers and their gracefulness,” he said.
Coming to Shen Yun was a birthday gift for Mrs. Oliver from her husband, a night out in celebration, she said.
“It’s awesome to see something different. I’m really enjoying the culture.”
Reviving traditional Chinese culture is Shen Yun’s founding mission. That culture has been all but destroyed under 60 years of communist rule in China, notes Shen Yun’s website.
New York-based Shen Yun is reviving the culture through performances filled with “stories, virtues, and fascinating details that weave from ancient times all the way to the present,” describes the company’s website.
Shen Yun stages performances of mainly classical Chinese dance with a live philharmonic orchestra that includes Chinese instruments leading the melodies. Digital projections on Shen Yun’s vividly animated digital backdrop set the scene for each piece, from vast open grasslands to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilians.
Those scenes also interact with the dancers in a way audience members, including Mrs. Oliver, frequently comment on.
“I like how they have that screen where you can see them jumping down and see them flying through the air, I think that’s really neat to incorporate technology with the dance,” she said.
She was also impressed by the hundreds of costumes Shen Yun’s costume artists hand-tailored for the show.
“I love the colors of the costumes, oh my gosh.”
“You feel lighter just watching it, I was telling my husband, because you feel so much more grace in yourself from watching them being so light. They’re basically not even touching the ground it seems.”
She said that effect was particularly notable when the dancers did the highly technical flips and tumbling techniques unique to classical Chinese dance, moves that were later adopted and popularized as gymnastics and acrobatics.
“It’s just wonderful,” she said.
Mr. Oliver added his agreement to everything his wife said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will play two shows in Kitchener-Waterloo on Jan. 10-11 before going on to Hamilton and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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