MISSISSAUGA, Canada—As a veteran martial artist with 13 years of experience and a two black belt status, Jeffrey Tulk was impressed with Shen Yun Performing Arts’ show when he visited the Living Arts Centre on Friday evening.
“They’re very good at what they do, they’re very in sync … it’s clear they’re talented and they put a lot of work and a lot of practice into this,” he said.
The New York based company embarked on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture through song and dance. The company has three troupes that tour the world and take their audience on a journey through China’s ancient dynasties right up to the present, according to the company’s website.
“The show was amazing,” Mr. Tulk said.
“[I] can very clearly see the martial arts background in it, it’s very well performed,” Mr. Tulk said. “I can recognize a lot of them from my own forms, it was very cool” he added.
“The colours just jumped out at me, they were spectacular, the costumes were just amazing,” he said.
According to the Shen Yun website, Chinese history has been documented and passed down from generation to generation for the past five millennia giving Shen Yun plenty of material to work with and represent on stage.
“In less than ten minutes, Shen Yun dances recount ancient myths, bygone heroes, or celestial paradises,” reads the website.
“Some of the stories were very cool,” he said, “I really like folk tales and mythology, that’s awesome stuff,” said Mr. Tulk.
He said that he learned from the performance.
Saying that he’s wanted to see the show for years, Mr. Tulk added, “I’m very glad to be here.”
Musician Loves Shen Yun’s Orchestra
By day, Simon Milavec works in insurance, but at night, he plays music, sometimes recording instrumental songs he shares on Myspace. It’s been a passion of his for the past 20 years or so.
That love of music was fed Friday night by the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra.
“I love the orchestra. I love the Eastern instruments,” he said, paying special attention to the erhu, China’s two-stringed violin.
He gushed about erhu soloist Xiaochun Qi’s presentation of “Sacred Destiny.”
“It was very moving … A person playing it can get a lot of emotion out of the instrument.”
“You can feel if it’s pain or love, that can get expressed. The tone of it, I just love it. I love it very much.”
Shen Yun is based in New York, founded in 2006 on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture. Many of the dances are based on stories and legends from Chinese history or literature. Mr. Milavec said he enjoyed how the dances incorporated history.
There’s some comedy which I loved.
“They each had a story to them and I like how it varied too, from one to the next it was very different. There’s some comedy which I loved. Like the fish, that part. I loved that. That was great.”
The fish he referred to was the transformation of a river ogre from the novel Journey to the West. This year, Shen Yun presented Sand Mong is Blessed, a dance based on this story from one of China’s most celebrated novels.
Mr. Milavec said he enjoyed every aspect of the performance “even the costumes, like the colours, very rich, and the way they used the accessories in the dances, they had like cloths and the bowls and everything. I thought it was phenomenal.”
He said he also enjoyed Shen Yun’s “East meets West” orchestra which uses a philharmonic orchestra as the base with Chinese instruments, including the erhu, leading the melodies.
“I thought it was great. It wouldn’t have been the same if it was recorded … It just adds another element. The live dance, the live music. It’s just a great marriage.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Kristina Skorbach, and Matthew Little.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will be in Mississauga until Dec. 23 before going to Ottawa and Montreal and other dates in Ontario, Quebec, and across Canada.For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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