MONTREAL—After seeing the world-class Shen Yun Performing Arts presentation of classical Chinese dance for the first time, former musician and composer Louis Jacque said, laughing, “First, but not the last.”
Mr. Jacque attended the Friday evening show with his friend at Place des Arts in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on Jan. 4.
“It was very, very good; the dancers are good, the orchestra is superb,” Mr. Jacque said. “I love the music … it’s real traditional, like traditional music, … very different from ours.”
Shen Yun was launched in New York in 2006 with a desire to reawaken China’s 5,000-year-old divinely inspired culture, nearly all but destroyed by 60-plus years of communism, the company website notes.
Traditional Chinese dance—classical, ethnic, and folk dances—fill the stage with colour and energy. Tremendous athleticism, thunderous battle drums, and masterful vocalists are all set to animated backdrops that work together to transport audiences another world.
Shen Yun has nearly 100 artists, 400 costumes, and an orchestra featuring both classical Western and Chinese instruments as permanent members.
The distinctly Chinese sound of ancient instruments like the erhu and the pipa are bathed in a rich sea of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.
“I think that the main thing is that the notes are different, like we have notes that are real ‘arpege’… the notes from Chinese music are like between the notes that we have, it’s like ‘dang dang dang dang dang’(singing),” Mr. Jacque, said. “Yes, ‘la suite’… The sequence is different than ours, I like that.”
Mr. Jacque was a rock’n roll musician back in the 1960s and he also composed music, “but a long time ago,” he said.
Reporting by Sue Ping and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
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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