MONTREAL—Michel Bergeron praised Shen Yun Performing Arts not only for its artistic qualities but also its portrayal of different aspects of life in China after seeing the renowned classical Chinese dance company’s Thursday night sold-out opening show at Place des Arts.
“I really like the elegance—the artistic aspect of it—and the kind of unity just going through it,” he said.
“With the costumes, with the movement, there’s this elegance that translates throughout the dance, and there’s also a part of the living of the dancers that permeates through the dance.”
Mr. Bergeron is one of 12 members of the Canadian government’s Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics, a group jointly created by Canada’s three federal research agencies that are responsible for research in health, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities.
The panel is part of a collaborative effort to promote the ethical conduct of research involving human participants.
“I’m an ethicist, somebody that reflects on work about values and principles leading—governing—life,” Mr. Bergeron gave a simple explanation of his work.
New York-based Shen Yun was founded in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture that has been all but completely destroyed after more than six decades of communist rule in China.
The company tours the world each year with an all-new production of classical Chinese dance, Chinese ethnic and folk dance, and original musical scores that explore the stories and virtues spanning the ages from ancient times to the modern day.
Shen Yun’s performances preserve the spiritual essence of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honour, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, according to the company’s website.
In some dancers, I see some differences in the way they express, in the way they use their eyes, in the way they move.
Mr. Bergeron noted that amid the unity of the dancers, their individuality also comes through.
“In some dancers, I see some differences in the way they express, in the way they use their eyes, in the way they move,” he said.
He highlighted the traditional Mongolian Bowl Dance in which female dancers skillfully balance bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome.
“The three main dancers at the front were not balancing the bowl the same way, were not using their hands exactly the same way,” Mr. Bergeron said.
“They expressed some openness in some cases—in some cases their hands were more closed—and that was interesting to see how they expressed the same dance and the same movement a little bit different.”
He enjoyed the choreography overall, praising the large-scale dances and the coordination among the dancers, and giving another example of a dance that stood out for him, When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor, which showcased young Buddhist monks honing their fighting skills.
“I find it really nice, really interesting,” Mr. Bergeron said, noting that “I’m thinking about the one with monks, for example, fighting, which were presenting various aspects of their life.”
Reporting by Crystal Yin and Cindy Chan.
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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