TORONTO—Daisy Chen spent Sunday afternoon on a magical journey. Although she did not take Aladdin’s magic carpet ride, she did find many wonders along the way.
She passed through the Himalayan mountains and saw Tibetans dance, enjoyed beautiful landscapes filled with brightly coloured flowers, visited majestic imperial palaces as well as tiny villages.
There was also the renowned Tianamen Square (Gate of Heavenly Peace), along with wondrous celestial realms where divine beings came to life.
Some momentos she knows she will take with her.
“I think I will probably take the colours, because I’m a painter,” she said. “A lot of the colours I saw were so vivid and so beautiful. I would love to take that vibrancy into my own backgrounds as well.”
Ms. Chen took in Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Sony Centre with some of her colleagues, an inspiring experience she said she will carry forth in her life and her profession.
A concept artist for a video game company, she works on concept design as well as creates backgrounds and characters for video games.
The timing was amazing. It was on the dot. I thought the way they tied the live action to the background was amazing.
— Concept animator Daisy Chen
Ms. Chen said Shen Yun will likely serve as inspiration for her backdrops. For example, she said she thought of doing a springtime background after seeing An Early Spring, a vibrant northeastern folk dance where dancers twirl colourful handkerchiefs evoking the change in season.
Ms. Chen also noticed that the colours in Shen Yun’s backdrops matched the performers’ outfits. “The performance was really linked together well. The connection was really great,” she said.
Stories Come to Life
Shen Yun features state-of-the art backdrops that in many instances become animated to assist the dancers to bring the stories to life. Characters jump in and out of the screen and onto the stage with impeccable precision.
“The timing was amazing. It was on the dot,” she said. “I thought the way they tied the live action to the background was amazing.”
Shen Yun’s choreography also struck a chord with her.
“I was really impressed by the choreography, of course. Everyone was very synchronized.
“I’m just over-impressed by how long they can be up there and performing without getting tired. They all maintain a beautiful smile, so it was really, really impressive,” she said.
Another performance that stood out was The Mongolian Bowl Dance, in which ladies balance bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome.
“I was definitely amazed,” she said of the dancers’ skill and grace while performing with the bowls.
Established in 2006, the New York-based Shen Yun has set out to “revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China,” according to the company’s mission statement.
As a Hong Kong-born Chinese, Ms. Chen was happy to learn more about China’s 5,000 years of civilization.
“It definitely informed me a lot about the history. It showed me a lot about our culture,” she said.
The performance made her think of her ancestors and how different the culture was then from the one today.
She also remarked on the inner meaning of Shen Yun’s performances.
It’s stunning, beautiful backgrounds and costumes. Definitely check it out. There’s a lot of history, a lot of Chinese culture in there.
— Concept animator Daisy Chen
“It definitely does inspire me. Just the elegance and the peacefulness that I got from the show, I think it’s a great way to live in this life,” she said.
“Just to have a balanced state of mind and the happiness and how it can transmit into your life—how you look into everything.”
She heartily recommended Shen Yun to her friends.
“It’s stunning, beautiful backgrounds and costumes. Definitely check it out. There’s a lot of history, a lot of Chinese culture in there,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Following 21 successful shows Dec. 20-Jan. 13 in Mississauga, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton, Shen Yun’s New York Company finished its run of five shows in Toronto with sold-out shows Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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