HAMILTON, Canada—On Sunday afternoon, Hamilton Place Theatre was brimming with excitement and anticipation. Audiences were looking forward to the colourful dances, beautiful music, and dynamic backdrops Shen Yun Performing Arts had to offer, and they were in for a treat.
It was the company’s second show in the city this year, and it was a sold-out success.
In the audience that afternoon were company president Dave Dennison with his partner Vicke Ann Cantlon and a few other family members, including his father, siblings, and sister-in-law.
“It’s just amazing, really entertaining,” he said.
Mr. Dennison is president of Transparent Packaging Inc., a company specializing in the design and manufacture of plastic boxes that processes millions of orders, including from Fortune 500 companies such as L’Oréal and SC Johnson.
On Sunday afternoon, he was particularly impressed by Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art animated backdrops.
The backdrops extend the stage to provide audiences with a window into another world. They depict everything from beautiful landscapes to imperial palaces and celestial realms. The innovative screens are designed to complement and synchronize every aspect of the performance, from the characters and the colours of the costumes, to the lighting and the props.
In certain scenes, the backdrops interact with the performers, having characters flying into the screen or onto the stage.
Mr. Dennison enjoyed how the backdrops were tied into the stories.
Both he and Ms. Cantlon also appreciated Shen Yun’s orchestra, which is unique in that it combines classical Chinese instruments with Western classical instruments to create a unique, harmonious sound.
“The orchestra is amazing,” said Ms. Cantlon.
“The singing was great too,” added Mr. Dennison, referring to Shen Yun’s internationally renowned bel canto performers. He was particularly impressed by soprano Huang Pi-ju, who sang before intermission.
“Her voice was very powerful,” he said.
Ms. Cantlon was struck by the opening performance, a scene in which a group of heavenly beings gather to hear the Lord Buddha and heed his call to follow him to Earth to create a magnificent history for humankind.
“It was spectacular, breathtaking. It was so beautiful, [it] took my breath away,” she said.
Mr. Dennison was also touched by it. “It almost moves me to tears,” he said.
Through its performances, Shen Yun takes audiences on a tour of China’s history, from its 5,000-year-old origins to today.
The company features several story-based dances, inspired from myths and legends as well as contemporary tales of courage.
Among these is the story of Falun Dafa, a meditation practice based on traditional Chinese principles, whose adherents are persecuted in China today. Throughout its rule of over 60 years, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically attacked traditional Chinese culture and its spirituality.
Ms. Cantlon explained that she loved that story very much. “Very interesting. They’re educating us as well,” she added.
Established in 2006 by a group of overseas Chinese artists, the New York-based Shen Yun has set out with the mission to reclaim and revive China’s divinely inspired heritage.
Reporting by Lisa Ou, NTD Television, and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company performed three shows in Hamilton Jan. 12-13 and is now heading to Toronto for five shows Jan 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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