TORONTO—Member of Parliament Costas Menegakis thought Shen Yun is “absolutely the best performance” he has ever seen.
The Conservative MP for Richmond Hill watched the opening performance of Shen Yun at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday night.
“It’s absolutely fabulous; it’s very enchanting. What a beautiful way to celebrate classical Chinese music and dance,” he said.
Mr. Menegakis has been wanting to watch Shen Yun in previous years as he had heard great things about it, but didn’t get the chance to do so. This year, he was finally “fortunate” to be able to see the show.
“I was expecting to see beautiful dance, but this is well beyond my imagination,” he said in an interview during the intermission.
“It is absolutely fantastic…it’s just the way that it’s done, the quality of the performances, the athleticism of the performers, the strength of the performers, the smiles on their faces, the joy in their faces, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance and music. An art-form thousands of years old, classical Chinese dance is built on profound traditional aesthetics, according to the Shen Yun program book.
“Within classical Chinese dance lie China’s rich cultural traditions, which allow its movements to be deeply expressive, such that the personalities and feelings of characters can be portrayed with unparalleled clarity,” says the program book.
Mr. Menegakis said he saw “absolute precision” in the Shen Yun dances.
“Everything was done in total synchronization,” he said.
“The faces of the dancers, they’re really enjoying their performances, it’s absolutely enchanting, it is fabulous. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
What’s more, Mr. Menegakis added, was that the dances were in synchronization with the music performed by the Shen Yun Orchestra, as well as the animated backdrops projected behind the dancers.
“Unbelievable how much it all comes together with absolute precision,” he said.
“I’m just totally blown away…with the beautiful colours, wonderful dancing, and the music and the orchestra.”
Shen Yun ‘spreading the good word’
Mr. Menegakis has visited China before as part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his trip.
He said he had the opportunity to meet “the beautiful Chinese people” during his trip to China. “But this show brings out the Chinese culture in a way that unless someone watches the show, you will never get … the true benefit of the beauty of the classical Chinese music and classical Chinese dance.”
“It gives you a beautiful understanding of the beautiful and warm Chinese culture and Chinese people”
—MP Costas Menegakis
According to its website, Shen Yun aims to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
“After more than 60 years of Communist rule in China, and especially after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese traditional culture has been all but completely demolished,” says the Shen Yun website.
“However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honour, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed.”
Mr. Menegakis said he was able to learn more about the Chinese culture through the show, and appreciate the rich history of this ancient civilization.
“Governments change over time, and things happen, but you can’t ever take [culture] away from people, from the heart of the people,” he said.
“I think that these performers are spreading the good word, message, in a very powerful way, through the power of the arts, their performance and their talent.”
And that message, he said, “is resonating very loud and very clear to all of us.”
Shen Yun, Mr. Menegakis said, is an “absolutely fabulous performance” that is not to be missed.
“Do not miss this show, it’s something that you’ve never seen before, but it gives you a beautiful understanding of the beautiful and warm Chinese culture and Chinese people.”
Reporting by NTD Television
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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