OTTAWA, Canada—Braving the snow, Ottawa theatregoers filled the National Arts Centre for each of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ five sold-out or full-house performances in the nation’s capital Dec. 27–30.
Filmmaker, artist, and fine-art photographer Richard Austin was captivated by the beauty and power of Shen Yun after seeing the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music production on Saturday evening.
“It’s magnificent. So unexpected, and so much energy and power and artistry,” said Mr. Austin, who has had his photography exhibited internationally and has made over a dozen short films including At Last and the award-winning documentary Heather Crowe’s Legacy.
Mr. Austin was also impressed by the talent and expressiveness of New York-based Shen Yun’s dancers, who perform stories and legends from traditional Chinese culture through mainly classical Chinese dance but also ethnic and folk dance.
“I’m amazed at the performance of the dancers—they have so much energy, and so much beauty and synchronicity,” he said. “It’s really beautiful and it’s quite expressive how the story is told through movement and colour.”
Barbara Grose, a former ballet dancer who trained with the National Ballet of Canada, had a career that saw her go from dance to television and then on to promotions, but throughout her life she has maintained her love of live performance.
It’s really beautiful and it’s quite expressive how the story is told through movement and colour.
— Richard Austin, filmmaker, artist, and fine-art photographer
“I am overwhelmed by the technique of their talent, it’s absolutely amazing. Of course, these people are very, very young too, and supple bodies, but the training is there,” she said of the dancers.
“The costumes are absolutely exquisite. The technique of the dancers is A1—I know, because I have been there. I am just very, very pleased.”
Award-winning musician Gary Graham, musical director and founder of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday matinee.
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s a combination of all the arts, and it certainly is incredibly vibrant,” said Mr. Graham, who in 2004 was invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador for his role in developing the musical, cultural, and artistic life on the west coast of the province.
Each season, Shen Yun tours the world with an all-new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores depicting the true, divinely inspired cultural heritage of China.
Experience to Remember
Having made numerous fans over the years, there are many who return year after year to witness Shen Yun’s particular brand of magic.
“I enjoyed it so much last year, I didn’t want to miss it,” said Greg Kells, president and CEO of business brokerage firm Sunbelt Canada, who last year brought his entire staff to see Shen Yun.
“The dancing is fantastic, perfection, the music wonderful, and the show uplifting spiritually,” he said.
MPP Jack MacLaren and his wife, Janet, were so impressed by Shen Yun last year that they came again this year.
“I love the beautiful costumes, the dancing, expression of the culture, and the music was wonderful too,” Mr. MacLaren said.
“I was just very impressed by it all—very meaningful presentation,” he added, commending Shen Yun on its mission to revive traditional Chinese culture.
Long-time fan David Kilgour, a former cabinet minister and Crown prosecutor who has also served as Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific and Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, has seen Shen Yun for seven years running.
“I’m inspired differently and more every time I see it,” he said. “It’s uplifting. It’s fabulous for the senses.”
China expert Brian McAdam, a former diplomat at the Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong, has also seen Shen Yun seven times.
“Very elegant, very beautiful, and very moving,” Mr. McAdam said. “I was very moved by what I just saw. I recognize the effort that goes into this production.”
“You can just see the dancers are filled with life—just amazing. It’s not like a normal production that one would see, like a Broadway production. You see phenomenal human spirit. It’s fantastic,” Mr. McAdam noted.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will next visit Montreal for five sold-out shows Jan. 3-6 before playing in Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton, and then completing its eastern Canadian tour in Toronto Jan. 17-20. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will be in Vancouver Jan. 10-13.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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