TORONTO—Donald Simmons, senior attorney at In Canada Now, and a Toronto lawyer who runs his own practice, praised Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing the dance company perform at the Sony Centre on Friday evening.
“I thought it was wonderful. I really enjoyed it,” Mr. Simmons said.
“It’s an amazing show and it’s interesting that this is something that you probably couldn’t see in mainland China, for reasons that I’m well aware of,” said Mr. Simmons.
According to its website, Shen Yun aims to revive China’s 5,000 year old divinely inspired culture, which has been persecuted and co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party for the past 60 years.
Mr. Simmons has been an immigration lawyer for more than three decades and said that he has many Chinese and Korean clients. He said his experience as an immigration lawyer has made him aware of the situation the persecuted groups in China including Falun Gong practitioners and Christians face.
Mr. Simmons noted that there are 100 million Falun Gong adherents in China and a great number of underground Christians.
Referring to two of the pieces in the program that show the persecution of Falun Gong in modern day China through masterful dance and music, Mr. Simmons said “that’s very resonant with me.”
The long time lawyer also expressed his appreciation of the technical ability of the dancers.
“It’s much more athletic than I thought it would be. Both the men and the women are very good dancers.”
Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance and music. According to the Shen Yun website, classical Chinese dance has a history of thousands of years.
“Soaking up proofed wisdom from every era and dynasty, [classical Chinese dance] has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning,” says the Shen Yun website.
Shen Yun also features an orchestra that combines classical western instruments with traditional Chinese instruments. The orchestra accompanies the dances on the stage with original scores.
“The music is beautiful and the dancing is amazing and wonderful,” Mr. Simmons said.
“I really enjoyed it, it was really good,” he added.
Reporting by Matthew Little and Kristina Skorbach
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 is in Toronto for five shows Jan. 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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