MONTREAL—Former ballet dancer and violin player Stephanie Nazon attended Shen Yun Performing Arts for the first time on Saturday night at Place des Arts and said she enjoyed “every minute” of the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music production.
“I was speechless. It’s truly beautiful,” she said.
“From the first minute, from the first second to the last second.”
She noted that the overall presentation left her entire body with a good feeling and that the show was well worth seeing.
New York-based Shen Yun, founded in 2006, endeavours to revive China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture through annual global tours of performances that showcase classical Chinese dance, with Chinese ethnic and folk dances rounding out the program.
Ms. Nazon had danced for 15 years before a knee injury ended her ballet career. Watching the dance presentations of Shen Yun with a dancer’s eye, she shared her amazement with the calibre of the performances.
“Very well synchronized, the movements were amazing, the colours were amazing. They were following every beat of the music. I’m simply amazed,” she said.
As explained on the Shen Yun website, classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, passed down continuously through the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theatre and opera.
Today, it has become a complete system of dance that embodies traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning.
While ballet is often traced back about 500 years to the 15th century, ancient statutes, carvings, and texts show that Chinese dance is deeply embedded throughout 5,000 years of Chinese history, the Shen Yun website states.
Having not only danced ballet for 15 years but also played the violin for 15 years, Ms. Nazon paid close attention to the music of Shen Yun as well.
I was speechless. It’s truly beautiful.
“What really amazed me were the Asian instruments,” she said, referring to the unique orchestra, which features a Western philharmonic orchestra that plays the foundation while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
The Chinese instruments include the erhu, the Chinese violin; dizi, a bamboo flute; pipa, the Chinese lute; and suona, a double-reed woodwind instrument.
“It’s music that you don’t hear often,” Ms. Nazon noted.
She added that she was delighted to hear the sound of the two-stringed erhu.
Although she found that it sounded very much like a violin, she said that “I would say it’s even softer than the violin. It’s very fluid. It’s a mix of everything. It’s as if you were living in a dream, living under a cloud.”
“It’s really beautiful,” Ms. Nazon said. “It was really good. [I was] amazed, truly surprised.”
Reporting by NTD Television 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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