KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—Grant Haskell has played the trumpet since he was eight, a passion he now uses to entertain his elders at senior residences with his gospel band.
And thanks to the Shen Yun Performing Arts show he attended Friday at the Centre in the Square theatre, he feels even more inclined to do something nice for others.
“I want to help somebody a little more than I have been before,” said Mr. Haskell.
He also feels he will also have more respect for somebody who is trying to do something nice for their neighbour.
Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance in an effort to revive China’s divinely inspired culture, a civilization founded on virtues like reverence for the divine and filial piety.
Mr. Haskell said Shen Yun’s unique philharmonic orchestra, which includes Chinese instruments leading the melodies, was a new musical experience.
“I loved the music,” he said.
“When you can hear the different instruments that you don’t normally hear in a concert band or in a symphony, that is very interesting for me.”
“When you hear that mixed in with the regular brass, it adds a lot to the music and the feeling,” he said. “I felt like I was floating on air with some of the music there. It was really interesting to hear that.”
Mr. Haskell also enjoyed his introduction to the erhu, China’s two-stringed violin, played by award-winning virtuoso Qi Xiaochun.
“Here all you think of is a guitar or a violin and then you hear something like that,” he said. “It’s kind of haunting, you know.”
“Anybody that can compose music has a mind that is just unbelievable … You can’t touch a professional like that … You could feel the sounds and it touches you very much.”
He said he also enjoyed Shen Yun’s animated backdrop, a digital projection that set the scene for each dance, transporting audiences to realms where heaven and earth are one. The scenes on the backdrop frequently interact with the dancers on the stage, something Mr. Haskell was impressed by.
“I really was impressed with this show and with the screen behind, showing how people can come in and come out of the set very easily, especially when they went into the water and when they went to the moon. [It] was really unbelievable to put that together like that. Whoever is the creator of that has done a great job.”
The dance, music and backdrop made a unique combination, he added.
“It all fit in there just so nicely, it was very good, yeah a really, a different show.”
“It’s just amazing to see so many people being able to perform and to enjoy it. I’m sure they enjoyed as much as we did watching it, you know, to present that,” he said.
“For some of them it’s probably part of their family history, and to be able to present that to somebody here is really fantastic.”
Mr. Haskell was also impressed by the jumping, flipping and tumbling moves the dancers performed, highly technical moves that originated in Chinese dance but are more widely known from acrobatics and gymnastics, disciplines that adopted and incorporated these moves.
“It doesn’t look like they have any bones in their body when they’re doing that because they make it look so easy. It takes years of practice and hard work to do something like that, that you’re just amazed to be able to see how coordinated everybody is,” he said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Matthew Little
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. With its two shows in Kitchener-Waterloo now finished, Shen Yun’s New York Company will go on to Hamilton (Jan. 12-13) for three shows and finish its tour of eastern Canada in Toronto (Jan. 17-20) with five shows at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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