TORONTO—Father John Tataryn was enchanted with Shen Yun Performing Arts’ depiction of China’s authentic traditional culture after seeing the show at Toronto’s Sony Centre on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought it was just tremendous,” said Father Tataryn, a priest at the Church of St. Demetrius the Great Martyr in Toronto.
“I saw something which I didn’t see in China and I was in China twice. The ancient folklore is a tremendous part of the Chinese culture and I’m so happy to see that it is being retained and revived and promoted. And the performers were just out of this world. I thought they were terrific.”
New York-based Shen Yun is bringing about a revival of the essence of China’s ancient culture which, according to its website, has been systematically destroyed due to various campaigns waged by the Chinese communist regime, particularly the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976.
What is lost perhaps in China to a very great degree is retained in the free world and someday will come back to China.
— Father John Tataryn
Shen Yun portrays the principles originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism such as benevolence, honour, justice, propriety, and respect for the divine—values that were part and parcel of the culture.
Father Tataryn appreciated the spiritual aspect of the performance.
“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this. I’ve been at shows in China and they’re just a display of colour and whatnot, but here there is something far more. I think the spirituality made a tremendous difference.”
Along with vocal soloists and a live orchestra, Shen Yun presents large-scale, synchronized dances as well as dances that depict stories and legends form China’s long and rich history.
“The feeling I got at each performance was that you’re actually living through the centuries in China and the culture is so rich that it permeates through and shows quite well through the art,” said Father Tataryn.
“I think [the performers] conveyed it quite well. They conveyed it through art and I don’t think anybody can argue about that.”
He added that the show “just impressed me very much. The colours were fabulous everywhere. All the costumes were just tremendous. I thought they were very beautifully done and very beautifully worn by the performers because not all performers can really make the costumes come alive as they did today.”
Father Tataryn said he feels Shen Yun’s mission to revive the soul of the culture is timely.
“I think their mission is very important because they’re not only retaining but developing an interest in what is truly a very, very important part of Chinese culture and tradition. What is lost perhaps in China to a very great degree is retained in the free world and someday will come back to China.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Joan Delaney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Following 21 successful shows Dec. 20-Jan. 13 in Mississauga, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton, Shen Yun’s New York Company finished its run of five shows in Toronto with sold-out shows Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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