VANCOUVER, Canada—“Absolutely stunning and absolutely poetic,” was Claudia Barria Davison’s description of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ final Vancouver show of 2013.
She and her husband, Paul Saxton, saw Shen Yun for the first time at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 13, and both were left in awe.
Mr. Saxton, president & CEO of Lincoln Mining Corp., bought the tickets as a birthday present for his wife.
“We came and we really, really felt that it was worthwhile. Probably one of the better presents that I have given her,” Mr. Saxton said.
A mining engineer, Mr. Saxton has had a long career in the industry. He has served as the president of many companies, including Mascot Gold Mines Ltd, Loki Gold Corp., Baja Gold Inc., and Standard Mining Corp.
He had high praise for Shen Yun’s portrayal of traditional Chinese culture and Chinese history through music and dance.
“I just think that it was great,” he said. “The dancing, the creativity of whoever put it together, [they] did a fantastic job.”
Mrs. Davison, a poet and philosopher who studied classical mythology and is currently studying for her Ph.D. in philosophy at University of British Columbia, was “absolutely astonished by the representation of the story on stage.”
“I was astonished by the quality of the dancers, by the elegance and the grace, and also by the mythology, in a sense the expression of the mythology,” she said.
Shen Yun’s presentation of Chinese culture goes beyond the surface and endeavours to depict the essence of a culture that has deep philosophical roots. China was once known as “The Land of the Divine” and the Chinese people have long held that their culture has divine origins.
This was something Mrs. Davison could strongly feel throughout the performance.
“What is most beautiful is this idea of trying to recover the mythic life, which is poetry, and this is what we have lost. We don’t have that anymore—the call of the spirit,” she said.
“We live in a very materialistic world, and this is an absolute. … For humans to look into beauty, and when you look at the heavens, look at the moon, and think of a goddess, and when you look at the heavens and you look at the stars, you think of the gods, and you think of the great philosophers and the great poets that have gone—that’s really what this [performance] is about. It’s so that we remember our heritage.”
The primary medium that Shen Yun uses to express the essence of Chinese culture is classical Chinese dance, an art form that is 5,000 years old and carries much of the inner spirit of Chinese culture in its movements.
“Everything was so magical, exquisite really. I never thought that there were such great dancers to be honest, far superior to Western classical dancers,” Mrs. Davison said.
“Because here you have the motion of the hands, which is exquisite, I mean we don’t have that sort of beauty and that was glorious, wondrous, wondrous.”
Because it is based in New York as opposed to China, Shen Yun enjoys the freedom to express all of the facets of Chinese culture without restriction.
Mr. Saxton, who has spent time in China, was not surprised that the group was formed outside of the country, acknowledging the political situation in China today under the repressive communist regime.
“[Shen Yun] is just a nice expression of the overall Chinese character I think,” he said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company travels to the U.S. after having completed five shows in Vancouver Jan. 10-13, while the New York Company will complete its tour of eastern Canada with five shows in Toronto Jan. 17–20. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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