MONTREAL—Marie Markovic’s mother is a devotee of Chinese culture. “I love to see everything Chinese,” she said.
This year, Ms. Markovic gave her a special gift—the opportunity to see Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.
They both came on Sunday afternoon to the prestigious Place des Arts theatre, where Shen Yun performed the last of its five sold-out shows in the city.
“I’m so happy to be here because it’s a great, great show. Really great show,” Ms. Markovic said. “I would like to see it many times.”
Established in 2006, the New York based group has set out to reclaim and renew China’s divinely inspired heritage, which has been largely lost under China’s communist regime. It has since toured over 100 cities around the world, inspiring millions of audience members with its superior artistry and uplifting performances.
“I find it very interesting. I like the way that they tell stories through movement. I very much enjoy that and it’s amazing how good they are,” Ms. Markovic said.
Ms. Markovic is an actress, having worked in film and improvisation, and is now part of a stage combat troupe in Montreal.
While Shen Yun’s dancers make every movement look easy, as someone who has some dancing training, Ms. Markovic said she realizes it takes a lot of work to do that.
“I’m amazed at their training but also at how much they seem to be enjoying it,” she said.
“Everybody’s smiling, everybody seems to really like sharing the tradition and sharing the show.”
Two performances stood out for her: When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor and Mongolian Bowl Dance. The first one tells the story of a group of young and playful Shaolin monks. The humorous aspects of the piece amused Ms. Markovic who was also reminded of a friend who trained at a Shaolin monastery.
Mongolian Bowl Dance depicts Mongolian women who balance bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome. With strong yet relaxed movements, they evoke the image of geese in flight.
“There’s something hypnotic about that piece,” Ms. Markovic said.
Through its performances, Shen Yun takes audiences from the origins of China’s divinely inspired culture to modern times, stopping along the way to visit various ethnic groups, beautiful landscapes, heavenly realms, and legendary figures from Chinese history.
“It’s very interesting to be learning about history in such an artistic way, in such an intuitive way,” said Ms. Markovic.
“It’s not like a textbook,” she explained. “You’re not learning with your mind—you’re learning with what you see with the beauty of the costumes, the beauty of the movements.”
“I very much enjoy that. It’s an interesting introduction and it makes me want to learn more.”
Reporting by Xiuxin Zhen and Madalina Hubert.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. With its run of five sold-out shows in Montreal now complete, Shen Yun’s New York Company will play one sold-out show in Quebec City on 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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