TORONTO—Shen Yun Performing Arts offered a rare experience of providing insight into the Chinese culture for healthcare executive Neil Phasey.
“I think it’s a great experience. It’s very different from other theatre that you would go and see,” he said after seeing the renowned classical Chinese dance and music production Saturday night at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
He said he particularly liked the dance Sand Monk is Blessed, which takes a scene from the beloved Chinese classic Journey to the West.
In the dance, a Buddhist monk and his companions encounter a shape-shifting ogre on their pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures. The dance makes notable use of Shen Yun’s digitally projected animated backdrop, an element Mr. Phasey particularly enjoyed.
“I really enjoyed how they blended the digital imagery with the live imagery. It brought a sense of whimsy to the whole thing. It was great, it was very different.”
He said he also appreciated Shen Yun’s unique philharmonic orchestra, which features Chinese instruments leading the melodies.
“It’s very peaceful and relaxing. It brings you into what’s happening—very encompassing music. It’s almost like watching 3-D movies where you feel like you’re part of the show. That’s what the music does here, brings you into the show.”
“Very talented people, that’s for sure,” he said, adding that Shen Yun vocal soloists sung beautifully that night.
Mr. Phasey is currently a partner at BP Health, a company that brings together a wide range of multidisciplinary healthcare experience and expertise across the country to design and innovate improvements for the Canadian healthcare system, according to the company’s website.
Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance, with a few performances of ethnic dances from some of China’s lesser-known ethnicities as well as folk dances of the dominant Han ethnicity that makes up the vast majority of China’s population.
Mr. Phasey said it was very interesting to see different dances from different regions.
He described the show as “a good blend of love and harmony and integration.”
“They integrate so many different elements. They integrate costumes very well, music, singing, digital imagery, and it’s all interwoven. I think it’s really well done.”
Reporting by Quincy Yu and Matthew Little
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 finishes its run of five shows in Toronto on Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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