VANCOUVER, Canada—Arts community leaders were among some of the theatregoers who praised Shen Yun Performing Arts after its Jan. 11 performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Michel Noon, the first managing director of University of British Columbia’s world-famous Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, saw Shen Yun for the first time Jan. 11.
“I enjoyed it very much,” he said, adding that the dancers had “very good technique.”
A former architect, Mr. Noon managed the Chan Centre—lauded as one of North America’s finest performing arts venues—for seven years before he retired. He currently serves on the Board of Vancouver Civic Theatres and the PuSh Festival.
Previously, Mr. Noon was a board member of the National Ballet School, the Scotia Bank Dance Centre, and Festival Vancouver. He was also the General Manager of Toronto’s major civic cultural centre, The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
He said the most memorable moments in Shen Yun were the female dancers and their costumes, which created the impression they were floating across the stage.
“The costumes were beautiful,” he said.
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company. Featuring a collection of story-based dance dramas, the performance aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
According to the Shen Yun website, each story-dance is inspired by legends that span China’s history, all the way up to today.
“Shen Yun dances recount ancient myths, bygone heroes, or celestial paradises. Whether set in the past or in contemporary China, every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated,” states the website.
Mr. Noon was particularly captivated by a dance titled Sand Monk is Blessed. The story is drawn from classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, and tells the tale of a vicious river ogre who is transformed into a monk by the Goddess of Mercy.
“They are interesting stories,” said Mr. Noon, adding that he enjoyed Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops. “The blending of the backdrops, the cinema and the live action is very good.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three equally large companies simultaneously touring the world. Each company travels with a philharmonic orchestra that incorporates traditional Chinese instruments and plays all-original compositions.
Mr. Noon said he enjoyed the orchestra because it made Chinese instruments accessible to Western audiences.
Reporting by Chen Si 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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