KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—MP Stephen Woodworth comes to see Shen Yun Performing Arts year after year, enjoying it each time. He says understanding the show as he does adds to the depths of the performance and his enjoyment of it.
Such was the case Thursday, when he came to see Shen Yun perform at Centre in the Square theatre, located in his own riding of Kitchener-Centre.
“I’m always so impressed with the talent and the discipline of the dancers. Everything all works together—the costumes, the music, the movements. It’s really a work of great artistry in my opinion.”
Shen Yun, which is based in New York, was founded in 2006 on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, a heritage nearly lost after 60 years of communist rule.
Mr. Woodworth said he could appreciate that effort.
“I think that there’s been a great richness and a great vibrancy in the Chinese culture for many thousands of years, so it’s well worth preserving.”
Shen Yun stages performances of classical Chinese dance, an art form passed down and enriched dynasty after dynasty. The company also performs a few folk and ethnic dances, along with vocal soloists singing bel canto style.
Classical Chinese dance includes three main aspects, the movements themselves, the bearing of the dancers, and highly technical flips and tumbling moves. Mr. Woodworth said those later moves were impressive.
“I think it’s obvious the amount of work that’s gone into this.”
“When I look at the young men doing their back flips … it’s almost magical. It’s the closest we will ever get to unaided human flight. They almost seem to move in slow motion sometimes, I don’t know how they do it. So I admire that dedication. I know how much training and effort it takes.”
The performance that evening included a collection of short pieces, spanning legends from the creation of China’s culture 5,000 years ago, through to the story of the meditation practice Falun Dafa, which is persecuted in China today. Mr. Woodworth said he enjoyed Shen Yun’s optimism.
“It reminds us that whatever difficulties we face in this life, we always have hope. Mahatma Ghandi once said that although tyrants and murderers will always arise, they will pass away—love and truthfulness will endure forever. So that’s always another nice part of this show is that it does have that happy ending and hope for the future.”
“The physical performance is a metaphor for the spiritual performance. When we watch those dancers almost float across the scene, it is a metaphor for the human spirit, floating across the face of the Earth, but I still enjoy watching how they do that physically … I’m very impressed by them.”
He said there was an amazing amount of thought and care that when into the many details of the performance.
“It really speaks to a lot of training and discipline and hard work.”
The final result: a joyous spectacle.
“It’s just a very enjoyable performance visually and musically—it’s a delight to watch and to listen to.
Reporting by NTD Television 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 play two shows in Kitchener-Waterloo on Jan. 10-11 before going on to Hamilton and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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