QUEBEC CITY—Laurence Bastien-Dion started ballet as a little girl. She has since grown up and moved on to a technical career in geography, becoming a geomatics technologist. But 15 years later, she is still dancing, and all the years of training have given her a perceptive eye for dance.
On Tuesday night, however, she had the chance to experience a different kind of dance—classical Chinese dance. Alongside ballet, this is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.
Ms. Bastien-Dion attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at Quebec City’s Grand Théâtre de Québec. The world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company was in the provincial capital for one night only—performing a show so anticipated by audiences that it sold out three weeks in advance.
“I feel happiness,” said Ms. Bastien-Dion of her feeling watching Shen Yun’s presentation of classical Chinese dance.
Established in 2006, New York-based Shen Yun has set out to “reclaim and renew the true divinely inspired heritage of China,” according to its mission statement.
With colourful performances of classical Chinese dance, state-of-the-art animated backdrops, and a unique orchestra that harmoniously combines Chinese and Western instruments, Shen Yun has fascinated audiences around the world with its superior and uplifting artistry.
Ms. Bastien-Dion was intrigued by classical Chinese dance, noting the number of dancers on stage and their incredible synchronicity.
“It is amazing to do such work,” she said.
She also noted the many difficult techniques. Although unfamiliar with them, she could tell they required much practice.
“It looks so easy when they do them,” she said.
“And then we always say, ‘When it looks easy, there is remarkable work that goes behind all of that.’ Because it is amazing … to realize how difficult a technique truly is,” she said.
Throughout history, classical Chinese dance has been passed down among the people, in imperial courts, and through ancient plays, gradually becoming reorganized and refined into today’s systematic dance form.
Through its long course of development, classical Chinese dance has become a powerful means of transmission of 5,000 years of rich Chinese cultural traditions.
“[Classical Chinese dance] is very expressive,” said Ms. Bastien-Dion.
An aspect of the show that also struck Ms. Bastien-Dion was the difference between the male and female dancers. Whereas the female dances were more graceful, fluid, and fast, the male dancers were more expressive, humorous, and strong, she said.
One dance in particular stood out for her. “Phoenix Fairies was very graceful, majestic,” she said.
In this dance, a group phoenix fairies soar in a heavenly paradise with celestial grace, their shimmering dresses echoing the star-lit sky.
However, she enjoyed all the dances. “I adored them all for different reasons,” she said.
“I am dazzled,” she said of classical Chinese dance.
Reporting by NTD Television and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. After playing five shows in Montreal Jan. 3-6, Shen Yun’s New York Company played one show in Quebec City on 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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