MONTREAL—The city known as Canada’s cultural capital warmed up to Chinese culture as temperatures climbed from -20 to 0 degrees during the ongoing run of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ sold-out shows at Place des Arts.
The theatre had just 12 seats left of those available for sale for Friday’s presentation of the classical Chinese dance and music performing arts company.
Victoria Sorensen and her husband, Elio Pagliarulo, own a pastry shop and Mr. Pagliarulo used to own a string of bakeries. It was the couple’s first time to see Shen Yun and they left the show praising the quality of the performance.
“It’s completely beautiful, the colours, the dancing, it’s just amazing, it’s really really stunning. It’s something definitely to see,” said Mrs. Sorensen.
“It’s just gorgeous how the dancers can move across the stage so elegantly.”
New York-based Shen Yun stages performances of classical Chinese dance and music while rounding out the program with ethnic and folk dances as well as vocal soloists, who sing Chinese lyrics using the bel canto classical singing technique.
The company was founded on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture. Through its all-new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores each year it highlights the grace, wisdom, and virtues distilled from millennia of Chinese civilization.
“I thought that the female dancers were very graceful, especially how they tip-toe across the stage. I thought it was very very gorgeous,” said Mrs. Sorensen.
She said the dancers and their graceful movements left her in awe.
“That’s very impressive,” she said, noting that she felt “a sense of calmness and a sense of astonishment, because it’s just completely gorgeous.”
Her husband was similarly impressed.
“It’s my first time I see this Chinese dance and I really appreciate it,” he said.
Mr. Pagliarulo said he liked the way Shen Yun was calming and that there was a story to every act.
“I really really appreciate the work the director put into it.”
Shen Yun’s dances draw on the uniquely rich Chinese history, which has been documented and passed down uninterrupted for those 5,000 years, sometimes in vivid detail, notes Shen Yun’s website.
“Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day. … This provides Shen Yun with vast source material, making it possible to revive this ancient culture on a present-day stage.”
“It’s got a lot of character to it, a lot of theme to it, it’s so wonderfully made, it’s really beautiful,” said Mr. Pagliarulo. “It’s soothing and it’s calm, it’s got a story to everything.”
He said he enjoyed especially the dance An Unexpected Encounter, in which a father and daughter on tour in China take a picture with three people who practice the spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa.
One of the trio holds a banner that reads “truthfulness, compassion, tolerance,” the tenet of the practice, which has been persecuted in China since 1999. Due to a misunderstanding, the tourists are arrested and sent to jail with the Falun Dafa believers.
“There was a lot of beautiful acting,” Mr. Pagliarulo said. “It’s so wonderful, the characters, nicely met, nicely put together.”
He praised the dancers for their “beautiful way of dancing,” noting that “they’re so flexible and they have a lot of energy in them.”
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 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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