KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—Ballet student Ms. Maria Khorkhordina had wished to come see Shen Yun for the past few years, but never got the chance. That is why when her parents invited her to watch the show at the Centre in the Square theatre, she leapt at the occasion.
Since its establishment in 2006, New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts has been recognized as the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, touring over 100 cities around the world.
Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. Ms. Khorkhordina who has been studying ballet for the past seven years, shared some of her insights into the two dance systems.
“Both are very passionate, but I notice classical Chinese dance was vibrant. [The artists] were really fiery and passionate about what they did,” she said adding that she felt that both dance forms are unique and wonderful.
Ms. Khorkhordina also noticed a difference in the movements of classical Chinese dancers. “They’re more fluid and sharp at the same time,” she said.
Classical Chinese dance has been passed on through the people, the imperial courts and through ancient plays. Over the years, it was organized and refined to incorporate a wide array of movements and techniques, allowing the artists to express the personalities and feelings of a wide range of characters.
The young dancer also felt inspired by the dedication of Shen Yun’s artists. “The struggle of pushing physical boundaries and persevering in your art is important, so I can relate to them and I just look up to them,” she said.
She was also inspired by their collective passion. “It was really just something. I want to take it and carry with me throughout my art,” she said.
One dance that struck her in particular was the “Mongolian Bowl Dance,” which depicts Mongolian ladies balancing bowls on their heads in an elegant dance of welcome. She was impressed by the dancers’ ability to perform difficult techniques while performing the balancing act.
“That was just amazing,” she said.
Ms. Khorkhordina also noted the beauty of the colourful costumes as well as their ability to complement the movements of dance. “[That] created a completely unique performance experience,” she said.
The live orchestra, which accompanied each dance, also struck a chord with her. Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in its ability to combine Eastern and Western instruments in a fresh harmonious sound. “I would say it was the most culturally unique musical experience I’ve had in my life,” she said.
Asked whether she would recommend the show to her friends, she answered, “I would recommend it to everyone, everyone.”
Reporting by Lisa Ou and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will play two shows in Kitchener-Waterloo on Jan. 10-11 before going on to Hamilton and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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