OTTAWA, Canada—Lloyd Stanford is an accomplished community leader, civil servant, author, and professor whose wide interests include Chinese culture. On Thursday night, a man who’s given much to Ottawa said Shen Yun Performing Arts wowed him with its presentation at the National Arts Centre (NAC).
“It’s brilliant,” he said of Shen Yun. “Brilliant.”
Mr. Stanford said there were several outstanding aspects to Shen Yun’s performance that evening.
“The choreography is really excellent. Whether or not one knows Chinese dance, you can see that the skill of the dancers is extraordinarily high.
“It creates the impression that it’s simple and sort of a natural thing, but technically it must be very very difficult, a lot of hard work, to get to that level.”
New York-based Shen Yun stages performances of classical Chinese dance, a tradition that spans thousands of years and has been passed down in China’s royal courts and opera houses, enriching generation after generation, dynasty after dynasty. The performances draw on China’s 5,000-year-old divinely inspired culture.
Mr. Stanford said he enjoyed the historical journey Shen Yun took him on of some of China’s many dynasties and ethnic groups.
“I found it very attractive because I didn’t have as keen a sense before of the different dynasties, and I also liked the variety.”
He noted dances that highlighted the importance of the Yellow River, or portrayed the folk dances of various ethnic groups in China, like Mongolian Chopsticks, a piece set in China’s northern steppes where men pull together to drink and perform a traditional chopstick dance.
Mr. Stanford thought Lotuses in Bloom, a dreamlike piece where dancers holding silken fans glide across the stage, was extraordinary. He also made note of the drumming in the opening piece.
That number was Grand Descent of the Deities, which told of divine beings in a golden paradise who descend to the Earth and reincarnate as human beings to guide China’s 5,000 years of civilization.
He also praised the visuals created by the colourful costumes and vividly animated digital backdrop.
“I find that those are very ingenious. In the combination of colours, I find that some of them are unusual,” he said.
Mr. Stanford said he was sorry his eldest son, an artist, hadn’t been in Ottawa that night to see the show.
“He would have loved everything about it.”
“And my grandchildren would have liked it, I think. We have granddaughters, and I think each of them would have liked it.”
Mrs. Stanford said she also enjoyed the show.
“It’s beautiful. Beautiful show. Wonderful show,” she said.
Mr. Stanford has a long list of accolades and accomplishments. He received Black History Ottawa’s 2011 Community Builder Award, and is a highly regarded public policy expert and co-founder of Third World Players theatre group.
He is now president of Le Groupe Stanford Inc., a consulting firm with a wide area of expertise including multiculturalism, human resource development, social and cultural policy, and international development issues.
Mr. Stanford has served as past president of the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and was on the Board of Governors and Senate of Carleton University.
Lloyd Stanford has also been a university teacher and researcher at the School of Public Administration at Carleton University and has written on race relations and public policy.
Shen Yun filled the NAC to full-house capacity despite bitter cold outside that the Weather Network said felt like -35 C with the windchill.
This year, Shen Yun sent its World Company—one of four companies it has touring the globe—to Ottawa. The company features three vocal soloists and an erhu virtuoso and will perform four shows in total in Ottawa, finishing up on Saturday night.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.