MONTREAL—Award-winning writer and painter Pascale Quiviger was inspired by the graceful movements and profound beauty of Shen Yun Performing Arts after attending the renowned classical Chinese dance production at Place des Arts on Saturday afternoon.
“I think what inspired me the most is the way colours are highlighted,” she said.
“And yes, I admit it made me think about my writing and how I could insert more colour into it,” added Ms. Quiviger, recipient of the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction (French) in 2004, among other honours.
New York-based Shen Yun travels the world reviving the ancient, divinely inspired Chinese culture, a culture that spans back 5,000 years and is imbued with a rich system of moral principles and ethnic diversity.
Shen Yun itself translates as “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”
Ms. Quiviger found the company perfectly named.
“This is really it,” she said. “It is beautiful to see how far the human body can go.”
Large groups of dancers often perform together, merging into formations then breaking off into smaller groups in breathtaking coordination.
“What I really like is the way an organization created by several people becomes one,” she said. “It’s united by movements.”
Animated digital backdrops shown on a screen behind the dancers accentuate their movements. The dancers themselves are adorned with a visual feast of colourful and exquisite costumes, all handmade.
“I found that the way the costumes and choreography complement themselves with the scenery was beautiful and varied,” said Ms. Quiviger.
Yet it was the sometimes subtle and sometimes evident spiritual elements to the performance that really connected with the writer and artist.
“I think it brings us closer to a heavenly world, and then it commits us to find it here, too, find it in the other, to find it within human and material interaction, without waiting until we have a spiritual significance that is revealed when we have left our body,” she said.
“This show makes the human body very spiritual for me, also how [the body] is pushed to its limits, and the beauty, the beauty of the movement.”
The three religions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism formed the foundation of China’s ancient culture, according to Shen Yun’s website, and the products of their teachings included principles such as respect for Heaven and the cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness.
The ancient culture also evoked science and technology “unsurpassed around the world until Europe underwent the Industrial Revolution,” bringing forth inventions such as paper, printing, and the compass, the website states.
After a period of stagnation due to straying from traditional principles, however, China’s culture has fallen behind.
But, “Who knows what wonders a revival of traditional Chinese culture and openness in a globalized and technologically advanced world might give birth to?” Poses the company’s website. “This is precisely what Shen Yun seeks to find out.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber.
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 five shows in Montreal Jan. 3-6 and one show in Quebec City 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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