TORONTO—Linara Kulishova is among the elite of Canada’s rhythmic gymnasts, an aspiring Olympian who learned a little about the ancient roots of her art at Shen Yun Performing Arts Thursday night.
“It was a really amazing show,” said Ms. Kulishova after watching Shen Yun’s opening performance at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. She said Shen Yun introduced her to classical Chinese dance.
“I do gymnastics and I thought maybe it had some connection to it. I felt it was quite different but it was more beautiful and there were a lot of great performances,” she said.
Ms. Kulishova was correct about the connection. Classical Chinese dance is a tradition with a history of thousands of years. One unique aspect of classical Chinese dance is its highly difficult flipping and tumbling techniques, moves that were later taken from classical Chinese dance and popularized as gymnastics and acrobatics.
Ms. Kulishova is a level nine National Junior gymnast, one level below international competitions like the Pan Am games and Olympics, in which she one day hopes to compete.
She said there were several attractions for her in Shen Yun’s performance.
“They were really a good team, because they work together and they were really together.”
She also enjoyed Shen Yun’s orchestra, which is a unique combination of a philharmonic orchestra with Chinese instruments leading the melodies.
“It’s amazing,” she said, adding that she herself was a musician, having played clarinet and piano for three years.
“It’s really in tune with the actual performance,” she said of the orchestra.
She said the dancers have excellent facial expressions and staged a clean performance.
“They didn’t make any mistakes, and they looked good on the stage.”
“If it was sad music you could see that they looked like they were sad, and if it was happy music, they looked like they were happy, like it was their birthday or something and they got the best gift ever.”
Ms. Kulishova’s team won bronze at the Pan Am games last year though she was unable to go. She is waiting to get her Canadian passport, a condition for competition as a member of Team Canada.
The Team Canada senior team made it to the Olympics in 2012, the first year Canada has qualified in rhythmic gymnastics, she noted.
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 will play five shows in Toronto Jan. 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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