Vancouver theatregoers are in for a taste of excellence in dance, music, and song with five Shen Yun Performing Arts shows playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this weekend.
From Jan. 10–13, Vancouver audiences can enjoy Shen Yun’s particular brand of magic as the New York-based group continues the Canadian leg of its international tour with an all-new production.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson sent an official welcome in recognition of the classical Chinese dance and music performance and congratulated the artists performing in the 2013 show.
“On behalf of my colleagues on Vancouver City Council, I am pleased to offer congratulations to … the performing artists for the 2013 Shen Yun Performing Arts Show in Vancouver,” he wrote.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore also sent congratulations, while the City of Port Coquitlam issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 10–13 “Shen Yun Days.”
“We would like to congratulate you for bringing your world-class production back for us to enjoy again this year,” wrote Mayor Moore.
“We hope that you have a very successful year ahead and that your performances in Canada and across the world are everything that you expected and more.”
Greetings also arrived from Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, and Heritage Minister James Moore, among other dignitaries.
Since its inception in 2006, New York-based Shen Yun has brought together the talents of world-class dancers, choreographers, singers, and musicians from around the globe in order to fulfill its mission of reviving China’s authentic traditional culture.
Artistically it is beautiful. It is just completely filled with grace.
— Former UK MP Alan Simpson
Shen Yun has already played several venues in eastern Canada, drawing full houses and garnering praise from audience members captivated by the show, whose centrepiece is classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form that evolved over the Middle Kingdom’s 5,000-year history.
Architect Patrick Malard, who has led architecture projects since the 1980s and worked in Europe as well as across Canada, called Shen Yun’s unique animated backdrops “a new form of art.”
“It’s very interesting. It’s so simple, yet so effective. That’s what I like about this show,” he said. “The mind feels very peaceful while seeing all the scenes where the dancers move. … It brings happiness. It’s a very pleasant experience.”
Shen Yun’s multifaceted show includes vocal soloists, who use the bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics, which is not easily accomplished and is “unparalleled” in the music world today, according to its website.
Quebec-based jazz singer and actress Lynne Hamilton was brought to tears upon hearing soprano Pi-Ju Huang sing “Do Not Lose Your Way.”
“She was striking. I loved it. It moved me to tears when she sang,” said Ms. Hamilton.
“The power of her voice, the exactitude of her notes—she didn’t miss anything and she conveyed her emotions very well with much, much control.”
The visual feast Shen Yun offers delighted Lydia Schrufer, a multidisciplinary artist who focuses mainly on painting and drawing.
“The colour is magnificent. That is the most important thing to me. It is just stunning visually,” she said
“I love it because it feeds my sensibility as an artist. It is very colourful and very lively. And it teaches us a little bit about Chinese history, which is very nice.”
Former U.K. member of Parliament Alan Simpson was in Montreal visiting his in-laws and attended Shen Yun based on high recommendation by some close friends.
“Artistically it is beautiful. It is just completely filled with grace,” he said.
“The West doesn’t properly understand just how rich and diverse Chinese culture and history are. The show is very good at capturing how wide and deep the culture is.”
According to the Shen Yun website, China’s traditional culture was divinely inspired, and Lucien Bouchard, owner of steel company Acier Bouchard Inc., said he detected that in the show.
“One would have to say that there is definitely something divine there. From beginning to end, one can see this rhythm. It’s a message, a divine message.”
Raymond Déry, founder of DCM Aerospace, had no problem giving Shen Yun top rating.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the best [show] I’ve ever seen,” he said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s Touring Company will be in Vancouver until Jan. 13, while the New York Company will complete its tour of eastern Canada with five shows in Toronto from Jan. 17–20. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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