TORONTO—Shen Yun Performing Arts wrapped up its Canadian tour with its sixth and final show at Sony Centre on Sunday afternoon leaving theatregoers awestruck and wishing the population in China had the privilege of partaking in one of its incredible performances.
While providing an unforgettable visual impact, Shen Yun also uplifts and enlightens its audiences by educating them about traditional Chinese culture and values.
Many of Shen Yun’s vignettes depict celestial realms and divine beings as China’s glorious culture is said to have been brought down from the heavens. The principles of benevolence, justice, propriety, and wisdom all come to life. These are some of the ideals that originated from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism thousands of years ago.
But today’s China, after decades of atheistic communist rule, has lost touch with its ancient past and Shen Yun seeks to repair the cultural damage. In fact, Shen Yun makes it clear to the audience that the company is not allowed to perform in China today.
This unfortunate reality made a strong impression on theatregoers at the Toronto finale. Now retired, Jim Foshay used to own a bar. He thought it was fantastic that Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
“There has been so much loss over there with the people that are in charge and that’s just sad,” said Mr. Foshay. “That is a beautiful way of life that they used to have and it’s just sad that they have lost all of that.”
“They have such an ancient history, not like we have here,” said Mr. Foshay. He was in awe of the magnitude of Chinese history and the uniqueness of Shen Yun presenting something that has nearly disappeared from today’s world. “It’s kind of disturbing the fact that they can’t even do this in their own country, that is really sad. It is their loss over there for not letting them do it.”
The effect on Nina Slezak, a decorative painter and owner/founder of Celestial Interiors, was two-fold. She loved the calming effect of Shen Yun’s performance but said she is also aware of the reality in China.
“It makes you feel very good, very peaceful, very elated. But I’m very sorry people in China can’t see that because they should,” said Ms. Slezak, who has visited China.
“Being in China, I know there are a lot of people who suffer,” she said.
Patrick Lilly, president and CEO at D&D Securities Inc., felt Shen Yun’s story-based dances that exemplify the ancient morals and values have lessons that can be learned by today’s society, despite what the authorities in China would have one believe. He saw the show Jan. 24.
“Human nature doesn’t change through time,” said Mr. Lilly. “Times change but human nature never does, so the stories are valid throughout time and will be for another 5,000 years.”
Mr. Lilly commented on Shen Yun’s mission saying, “Culture will not be denied. It’ll bubble through and eventually find its place.
“[It] can’t be suppressed forever.”
In fact, Shen Yun has been under attack from the Chinese communist party for years. The attacks range from sabotage to coercion from its embassies and consulates to the theatres around the world hosting Shen Yun. These tactics have all failed and have only served to cause a greater sensation around Shen Yun.
Coming to see a spectacle that an authoritarian regime does not want people to see only builds excitement and anticipation. And those who have been able to see Shen Yun are overwhelmingly pleased, but also feel for the folks in China who are not able to, for the time being.
But for those fortunate folks who can see it, Ms. Slezak says: “Go for it and see it and enjoy it to the fullest because it is worth the money and it puts you in a good mood. It’s beautiful.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Quincy Yu, and Rahul Vaidyanath
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company wrapped up its Canadian tour in Toronto on Jan. 25. As part of its extensive tour of the U.S., Shen Yun will perform in Detroit from Feb. 5-8. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.