OTTAWA, Canada—Sam El Sayed, president and CEO of Citified Builders, an Ottawa-based construction firm, was captivated by the stories presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts Saturday afternoon at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
Mr. El Sayed said he enjoyed the martial arts elements incorporated into some of the story-based dances of the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music production.
“I’m a very big fan of martial arts and Asian movies in general,” Mr. El Sayed said.
That includes movies about the famed Shaolin Temple. Mr. El Sayed said he enjoyed the humour in When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor, a little legend about why Shaolin monks eat meat, something that has been off-limits for Buddhist monks for centuries.
Based in New York, Shen Yun tours the globe every year staging an all-new presentation of classical Chinese dance with a unique philharmonic orchestra that includes Chinese instruments leading the melodies.
According to the Shen Yun website, the Chinese word for martial is wu, the Chinese word for dance is also wu, written differently but pronounced the same. The two systems of movements have a shared bloodline—whereas Chinese martial arts fulfills the purpose of fighting and defending, classical Chinese dance entertains as a performing art.
Mr. El Sayed said the martial arts aspect in the storyline of Yang Zhi and his Sabre was also excellent.
“I enjoyed it very much.”
The dance tells of gallant Yang Zhi, an exceptional fighter with a sword that could cut through anything. But when he and his men are tricked by bandits and lose a shipment of goods bound for the emperor, he is forced to sell his sword until a chance encounter with the bandits gives him an opportunity to set things right.
“They captured the hero storyline very well,” said Mr. El Sayed.
“It was fun,” Mr. El Sayed added.
His girlfriend, Maria, said she also enjoyed it.
“The dancers—They are very flexible. And all the colours—the colours are lovely. The dancers are very, very talented,” she said.
Reporting by Becky Zhou and Kristina Skorbach.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will be in Ottawa until Dec. 30 before going on to Montreal, Toronto, and other cities in eastern Canada.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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