HAMILTON, Canada—On Saturday night, visual artist Yvonne Erlichman devoured the sights and sounds of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“This was an absolute feast, feast for the eyes, feast for the ears and feast for the heart,” said Ms. Erlichman after taking in the show at Hamilton Place.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, sold-out its first of three performances in Hamilton, following a string of sold-out performances across eastern Canada.
Ms. Erlichman has been a portrait and oil painter for the past 40 years, and has also worked as a jewellery designer and lampworker.
She was very much impressed by Shen Yun’s artistry.
“The singing, the dancing, every movement was poetry,” she said.
Ms. Erlichman was also fascinated by Shen Yun’s hundreds of handcrafted costumes, particularly the colours.
“It was a living painting for the entire performance,” she added. “Every one was a masterpiece, and every one triggered certain emotions based on the colour combinations of the costumes.”
This was an absolute feast, feast for the eyes, feast for the ears and feast for the heart.
She was particularly struck by the dance Phoenix Fairies, which depicts phoenix maidens soaring in a faraway paradise. “For me, personally the Phoenix Fairies was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The combination of the indigo with the orange flames and the coordinated movements with those splashes of colour was breathtaking,” she said.
Through its performances, Shen Yun takes audiences on a tour of 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history, from its divinely inspired origins to today, stopping along the way to visit beautiful landscapes, imperial palaces and heavenly realms.
Shen Yun’s innovative state-of-the art animated backdrops help extend the stage and provide a vivid experience for audiences.
“The backdrop was a brilliant idea,” said Ms. Erlichman. “The notion of the piece of animation where you’ve got the figures flying in [from the backdrop] and then suddenly they’re alive on the stage—that was wonderful.
“That takes you to another world. It turns you into a 5-year old. When it comes to pure joy—just joy and appreciation. It’s like being in a candy store,” she said.
“I wish I could have some of the dancers hold some of the poses so I could do portraits of them,” she said. “That would be an absolutely wonderful opportunity.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was established by overseas Chinese artists with a mission to reclaim and renew China’s divinely inspired heritage.
Ms. Erlichman found a hopeful message in Shen Yun’s performances at the advent of the new year.
“The spiritual message is clear and it is a celebration of humanity, not to point out our differences but what we have in common, our hopes, our dreams,” she said.
She felt that the show was important for everyone to see.
“I don’t think anyone could walk away without having felt something, because it connects you at a heart level,” she said.
“It has opened everybody’s hearts who attended this, so I praise [Shen Yun] for being so brave as to do something incredible. It’s uplifted everyone on a spiritual level,” she said.
“It’s a celebration of the human spirit.”
“I think [Shen Yun has] declared freedom for all of us,” she added.
Like many audience members, Ms. Erlichman experienced a feeling of peace watching the performance.
“Without question, because everything was so harmonically beautiful, the presentation was exquisite. [Shen Yun] couldn’t possibly do anything better, so it was a feast for the eyes and a feast for the soul. It covered all possible senses.”
Ms. Erlichman also felt the show opened a window into the richness and value of Chinese culture. “[Shen Yun] sparked my appetite,” she said
Shen Yun was founded on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, a heritage nearly lost after 60 years of communist rule.
The knowledge of a culture that is thousands of years old should be respected and acknowledged, said Ms. Erlichman. “Medically, artistically, culturally, there is so much to be learned from it.”
“It was a real blessing to be part of this,” she said.
Reporting by SOH Radio Network, NTD Television 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 three shows in Hamilton on Jan. 12-13 before going on to Toronto for five shows, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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