HAMILTON, Canada—Writer and performer Amy Back had wanted to see the renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts for a long time. She finally went to see this year’s all-new show at Hamilton Place Theatre on Saturday evening and was blown away by the experience.
“I really enjoyed it. It was beautiful, breathtaking!” she said.
“I’ve been going to theatre since I was a little girl so I like to think that I can tell what’s good. And this was a really wonderful evening. I’m glad we came.”
Ms. Back sings, acts, and writes. She has written some musicals and also a couple of one-woman shows. She was thrilled with the Shen Yun Orchestra and its unique combination of Chinese instruments such as the pipa and suona with classical Western instruments.
“The orchestra was fabulous. I loved how they sounded. They were really good, and I definitely enjoyed hearing the new sounds of those Chinese instruments that I wasn’t familiar with. It added so much to the evening,” she said.
Ms. Back was also delighted with the calibre of the Shen Yun dancers.
“They are beautiful. They’re so perfectly synchronized, and how they used the ribbons and the sleeves. It’s just a feast for the eyes. Really enjoyed it.”
Shen Yun features mainly classical Chinese dance, portraying myths, legends, and heroic tales from the Middle Kingdom’s long history. The show is rounded out by presentations of ethnic and folk dances representing China’s many dynasties and regions.
“I enjoyed the stories and the legends, and it was just beautiful to watch,” said Ms. Back. “It was educational.”
She also enjoyed the erhu solo by Mei Xuan. The two-stringed erhu has a history of 4,000 years.
“It has a haunting sound to it. It was beautiful. She was lovely,” she said, adding that she was also struck by the wide array of costume styles and colours.
“The costumes were gorgeous, and the colours all worked together. It was so beautiful to see the effect of how the costumes matched the backdrop.”
Shen Yun’s website says the objective of its costume artists “is an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect.”
For some of the pieces, Shen Yun’s enormous digital backdrop becomes animated and interacts with the dancers—something that depends on split-second timing.
“I loved the effect of them disappearing off into the screen and then coming on stage again. I thought there was humour and real emotion in it. They are beautiful,” said Ms. Back.
Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art graphics technology also impressed retired Air Force officer David Jeffrey.
“I enjoyed the costumes, the scenery, and the wonderful transition from the stage to the screen. I’ve never seen that before. It was really wonderful with the screen up there—so artistically wonderful I was fascinated by it,” he said.
“They almost fly, fly up to heaven.”
Mr. Jeffrey said he thought the performance overall was fantastic.
“It was a wonderful expression of culture, which I’ve never been exposed to,” he said.
“The choreography was wonderful. Beautiful costumes. It was very well put together. I really enjoyed it.”
Mr. Jeffrey’s companion, Ms. Vasso, also loved the performance.
“Excellent. Very well synchronized. The choreography was super,” she said.
Reporting by May Tang, Allen Zhou, and Joan Delaney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will perform in Hamilton for one more show Sunday before going on to Kitchener-Waterloo. 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.