TORONTO—Award-winning writer Frank Westcott was suitably impressed with Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Saturday matinee show at Toronto’s Sony Centre.
Mr. Westcott, who was first-place co-winner of the Gloria Vanderbilt Short Fiction award in 2011 for his story “The Poet,” could appreciate many aspects of the show and said he found the multifaceted production to be full of energy, enjoying “the thrill of performance and seeing people do what they do.”
The award was given by Exile Editions, a group of publishers of fine literature that takes its fiction, poetry, translations, drama, and nonfiction throughout North America and into the U.K., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean.
“I loved it. Loved the costumes, the music, everything—and the culture too,” said Mr. Westcott, who is not only a published author of numerous columns, articles, poems, and short stories, but also enjoys a musical career as a singer, songwriter, composer, and musician on the drum, guitar, and keyboard.
He noted that “actually, [the culture was] what drew me to the show originally. Two friends of mine are from China and they introduced me to the brochure about the show and that drew me to actually come and see it.”
With 5,000 years of civilization to draw from, New York-based Shen Yun’s performances are varied and steeped in the many traditions of China’s past.
The acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music company, founded in 2006 by a group of overseas Chinese artists, takes as its mission the revival of China’s divinely inspired culture, states the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Westcott was most impressed with the prowess of the dancers, calling them “true athletes.”
Shen Yun’s dancers are all highly trained in the rigorous discipline of classical Chinese dance, an art form that has endured for thousands of years and contains many challenging flipping, leaping, turning, and tumbling techniques.
Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, according to the Shen Yun website.
“I enjoyed the athleticism; I just enjoyed the artistry of the performers,” he said, adding that he was in awe of their capabilities.
The male dancers particularly impressed Mr. Wescott, who noted that “strength and power came out in what they were doing.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Ryan Moffatt
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 is in Toronto for five shows Jan. 17-20, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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