VANCOUVER, Canada—“It’s very impressive,” said Michael Cunningham after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of China’s 5,000-year-old culture Saturday night at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Mr. Cunningham, who is the president of PacRim Group, a company specializing in corporate branding for different businesses, saw Shen Yun for the first time and said the performance was much more than he expected.
“We really, really enjoyed it,” he said.
“The costumes and the choreography and the music—it’s just truly brilliant, it’s something I’ve never seen. We enjoy the classics, but this in particular is much more than we get in the North American market, so we would definitely come back again.”
New York-based Shen Yun’s hallmark is Classical Chinese dance, and the company is leading a revival of this ancient Chinese art form. Along with Classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun also includes ethnic and folk dance as well as story-based dances that depict stories and legends from Chinese history.
“There is a story behind every dance, and so it’s very impressive,” Mr. Cunningham said.
Shen Yun’s story-based dances are enhanced by a digital backdrop that hangs behind the performers, covering the expanse of the stage. In addition to displaying scenes from Chinese antiquity, the animated backdrop interacts with the dancers, adding a third dimension to the stories being told.
“The background is very impressive as well when you actually see the characters coming out of the screen and coming up—it’s totally impressive,” Mr. Cunningham said.
“Having the fish coming out of the water and that whole interpretation was really well done. That was one of my favourites, ” said Mr. Cunningham referring to the piece Sand Monk is Blessed, which is based on the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West
He also liked how the different displays on the screen aided the interpretation of the dance.
Shen Yun has two emcees who offer an explanation of each piece in both Chinese and English—something that Mr. Cunningham found enhanced the overall experience.
“They’re explaining what is happening with each scenario; we’re impressed with that,” he said.
The Shen Yun Orchestra garners continuous praise from theatregoers. The unique ensemble combines the best of Eastern and Western musical traditions, creating a sound uniquely suited to the action on stage.
“The music is wonderful, it’s just enjoyable,” said Mr. Cunningham. “You just get into it and you just totally focus on exactly what’s happening with the dance, and the interpretation is really well done.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Ryan Moffatt.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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