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‘Everything was perfect,’ Former Musical Theatre Performer Says of Shen Yun


Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 20, 2013 Last Updated: January 20, 2013
Related articles: Shen Yun On Tour » Special Section
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Patricia Raynham, who performed musical theatre for 40 years with the York Minstrels, a group that for half a century was the Greater Toronto Area’s largest community musical theatre company, found Shen Yun perfect at Sony Centre Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Patricia Raynham, who performed musical theatre for 40 years with the York Minstrels, a group that for half a century was the Greater Toronto Area’s largest community musical theatre company, found Shen Yun perfect at Sony Centre Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

TORONTO— Shen Yun Performing Arts concluded its five-show run in Toronto with a sold-out show at the Sony Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Captivated by the show was Patricia Raynham, who performed musical theatre for 40 years with the York Minstrels, a group that for half a century was the Greater Toronto Area’s largest community musical theatre company.

“It was beautiful,” she said of Shen Yun’s presentation of Chinese traditional culture through music and dance. 

“It was graceful and elegant and beautiful, absolutely. The costuming is extraordinary. The ladies were extremely feminine. It was just beautiful all around—just very, very beautiful. I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

She also praised the production values and theatrical effect of the show, noting in particular Shen Yun’s renowned backdrops, which interact with the story-based dances to the extent that characters appear to move from the stage into the backdrop and vice versa.

“Perfect. It was wonderful. I loved the interaction between the screen and stage. People coming and going by the screen was very innovative. Very very nice.”

Shen Yun’s large-scale dance pieces often require that the dancers perform in synchronicity—something Ms. Raynham noted isn’t as easy as it looks.

“The choreography was extraordinary. [The dancers] are in unison; they are perfect, perfect, all of them. Singular, they looked like they were one person, absolutely, and that is very difficult to accomplish. They should be very proud of themselves. It was a beautiful job.”

The hallmark of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form that includes difficult leaping, spinning, and tumbling techniques and from which acrobatics and gymnastics originated.

I don’t know what to say to other than that it was absolutely perfect.

“Very fascinating, wonderful. I had no idea that acrobatics came from classical Chinese dance. I had no idea, but it was beautiful,” said Ms. Raynham.

“It was perfection, it was really perfection. The choreography was outstanding, the gracefulness of the dancers was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed it very much.”

She also described the music as “perfect.” Shen Yun’s live orchestra is unique in that it combines Western and Chinese instruments, producing a new and fresh sound for theatregoers. 

“I don’t know what to say to other than that it was absolutely perfect,” she said.

“Everything was perfect.”

Reporting by Becky Zhou and Joan Delaney

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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