OTTAWA, Canada—It was a full house at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Friday night as a captivated audience took in Shen Yun Performing Arts’ portrayal of China’s traditional culture through music and dance.
“The performances were amazing,” said Drago Perce, a personal trainer/fitness instructor and owner of Arizona Fitness.
“It was amazing, and I loved the costumes very much,” he added.
His wife, Gordana, was also impressed with the performance, which has at its core classical Chinese dance with China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles rounding out the evening.
Tenors, sopranos, and other award-winning vocalists perform piano-accompanied solos, while Shen Yun’s unique orchestra blends Chinese and Western instruments, producing a new and fresh sound.
“The music was beautiful, the dancing was beautiful,” she said.
“It was the first time that I watched Chinese dancing, and it was very, very beautiful. I really enjoyed all of the performances. The colour was beautiful, the pictures of the background were very interesting and it complements the dancing very well. It’s gorgeous. The orchestra was also very good. Everything was perfect.”
Many of the tales and characters depicted in Shen Yun dances draw inspiration from ancient records and classics based on documented historical events in Chinese history.
“Everything was amazing,” said her husband, adding that he particularly enjoyed the piece, When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor.
The piece that stood out was “the Shaolin performance, because of the martial arts,” he said.
Professional Ottawa football player Julian Hardy also had high praise for the show. Mr. Hardy used to play for the University of Manitoba Bisons and now plays in Ohio. He was in Ottawa visiting his girlfriend.
“I’m really pleased with the colours and the vibrancy. You could tell a lot of work went into it. It’s actually our first experience at the NAC, and Shen Yun made it very worth it. I’ve heard a lot about it and so I said I want to come see it,” he said.
Colours, Movement, Music
New York-based Shen Yun came into being in 2006 with a mission to revive China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture. Shen Yun now has three companies, each with its own live orchestra, that tour the world each season.
Acupuncturist Suzanne Beaulieu said that while she’d heard a lot about Shen Yun, this was her first time to see the show.
“I’m actually very impressed with the colours and the movement and the music. I’m enjoying it very much,” she said during the intermission.
“This time of year we usually travel but this year we have decided to stay home for the first time. We decided to stay home for the holidays and we are enjoying the show as we are able to be here for it. I’m glad that it comes every year.”
Classical Chinese dance is an art form developed over 5,000 years of Chinese history. The continually evolving dance system is one of the most complex and complete in the world, according to the Shen Yun website.
“I love classical dancing … and the fact that there’s such a uniformity in the group,” said Ms. Beaulieu, adding that she was also impressed with the choreography.
I love the choreography, but I also love all the smiling faces.
“I love the choreography, but I also love all the smiling faces. They are all synchronized. It’s very beautiful.”
Shen Yun endeavours to renew China’s ancient heritage through dance and music that is true to the culture’s deep spiritual essence with its values of compassion, propriety, wisdom, honour, sincerity, and reverence for the divine.
“I am a spiritual person, so I’m enjoying the spiritual side of it as well,” said Ms. Beaulieu.
“It’s a message that I live by quite a bit. Respecting the differences, live and let live—those are things that I believe in very much, and it’s nice to see them in dance.”
Reporting by Donna He, Crystal Yin and Joan Delaney.
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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