VANCOUVER, Canada—Reflection on divine themes and a new appreciation for classical Chinese dance was what family doctor Bruce Noble took with him after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Dr. Noble, who practices at the Vancouver-based Seymour Health Centre, attended the Jan. 13 evening performance at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and said Shen Yun’s themes were profound.
“I think the overarching theme was continuity from the past to the present, and from the present into [another] world,” he said, explaining his understanding.
Dr. Noble said it was his first time to see classical Chinese dance and he enjoyed Shen Yun from “beginning to end.”
“I liked all the colours and I thought the dancers were very competent,” he said, adding he was very impressed with the discipline in classical Chinese dance. “It’s very practiced, very competent, very athletic, very graceful.”
Formed in 2006 by overseas Chinese artists, New York-based Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance and music company with the mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Featuring story-based dance dramas spanning China’s ancient dynasties right up to the present day, Shen Yun aims to express the very essence of the country’s divinely-inspired culture.
“Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard for human conduct, moral concepts, mental state, one’s value system, and so on,” says the Shen Yun website.
Dr. Noble said he was moved by the dance piece Divine Mercy, which tells a story of karmic retribution, and heavenly beings coming to the aid of those who stand up for goodness.
“The piece seemed to bring the idea of humanity, gods, and Buddhas all together,” said Dr. Noble, adding that he enjoyed the representations of human beings’ relationship with heaven and nature.
He also enjoyed Shen Yun’s large-scale group dances, which are choreographed in perfect synchronization and formations.
Dr. Noble felt the harmony of the dancers represented “the colours of humanity and the unanimity of humanity.”
Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops also helped to express the show’s themes, Dr. Noble said, because of their depictions of nature and integration with the dancers.
According to the Shen Yun website, the backdrops feature China’s multifaceted geography, society, regions, and dynasties and act as an extension of the stage, transporting the audience “to a world where heaven and earth are one.”
“I like the backdrop, I like the arrangements,” said Dr. Noble.
“There were always backdrops of nature, sometimes backdrops of people interacting with nature, disappearing into it, coming back out again.”
“I think the theme of the show is really to set the process of the show in a universal backdrop. That was brought out by the scenes as a backdrop, by the integration of dancers and dance with the backdrop.”
Reporting by Michael Wang and Justina Wheale.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will play five shows in Vancouver Jan. 10-13, while the New York Company will complete its tour of eastern Canada with five shows in Toronto Jan. 17–20. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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