MONTREAL—Nathalie Parmentier has danced ballet and contemporary dance for nine years, but she experienced a whole new world of dance on Saturday afternoon at Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Ms. Parmentier attended the matinee performance at Place des Arts with her family on Jan. 5, and said Shen Yun was unique and exquisite.
“It was very impressive,” she said. “It’s definitely a very unique experience, and I would recommend it—the singing, the dancing the costumes, the culture, everything. It’s a great show.”
Ms. Parmentier said Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance was delightful and expressive.
“They get the emotions across well, a lot of playfulness with the male dancers and the female dancers too. They really get the story across,” she said.
“I enjoyed the playfulness of it,” she added.
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company. Formed in 2006, the company aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts.
Using classical Chinese dance and ethnic or folk dance, the show features a collection of stories or mini-dramas inspired by China’s divinely inspired culture.
Ms. Parmentier was awed by the technical skill and talent displayed by the dancers.
“They’re just so flexible, I couldn’t believe it, like they’re bending in half. It was amazing actually,” she said, adding that the performers were perfectly in character.
“It’s just the grace that they have, they really portray it. … They’re just doing the dance, and that’s all that matters at the time.”
She said the northeastern folk dance An Early Spring stood out to her because of its creative use of props. The dance, which features female dancers twirling handkerchiefs, evokes the annual change of seasons.
“My favourite was the fans and the [twirling handkerchiefs] that they would throw and then do a flip and catch them in the air,” she said. “It was awesome … it’s something totally different.”
She also enjoyed the group dances that often included all the female dancers or all the male dancers, something distinct from the dance she is used to.
“There was not much partnering between the males and the females which was really cool because you see the females can be a strong on their own, and when they have their props, the hats on the heads and the fans and everything, it’s very impressive. It’s very unique to see that with female dancers,” she said, adding that she was impressed by synchronicity between the dancers in the large groups.
“I’ve never danced in a group that big. Especially with the synchronicity, it’s very impressive that they’re all totally on time with each other, especially with the live music, you have to work with that,” she said.
“I’m sure [they underwent] hours and hours of rehearsal to get the flexibility and the training and the synchronicity between them all.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will play five shows in Montreal Jan. 3-6 and one show in Quebec City Jan. 8 before going on to Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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