MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Families and friends came together on Saturday afternoon to take in the sold-out matinee performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Living Arts Centre.
Vijai Singh, lawyer and owner of law firm V. Singh Professional Corporation, attended the performance with his wife Brenda Singh, daughter, and friends, the Latcham family.
“I thought it was just very positive and powerful,” Mr. Singh said after the show. “I looked at a lot of the people around and saw how peaceful and happy they were.”
He said the children’s reaction to Shen Yun—the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company—was proof of it’s magical quality.
“The kids were mesmerized,” he said. “I really believe the best perspective … is from the children themselves. Because we understand it from an adult’s perspective but they see something surreal, its almost real for them. So I think they capture the true essence and magic of the entire production.”
Mr. Singh’s family friend, Patrick Latcham, owner of a food distribution company, said Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance and ethnic dances represent the core of traditional Chinese culture.
“It really brings out the spirit,” he said.
Mr. Latcham’s wife Katherine, a former ballet dancer who now works for the Niagara District School Board, said she felt privileged to witness Shen Yun’s high-level talent.
“It was just a wonderful experience, we’re so grateful,” she said.
“The costumes were brilliant, the lines were very clean, the dancers were gorgeous and the singers were brilliant.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
Mrs. Latcham appreciated the educational component of the story-based dances, which dramatically portray legendary stories of China’s past and present.
“It was just brilliant,” she said. “It was such a learning experience for the children. They were just so happy to be here—next year we’ll be coming back.”
The heroes featured in many of the dances—such as heroine Mulan or the Monkey King monk—embody cherished virtues of traditional Chinese culture and have a timeless message or moral to teach, says the Shen Yun website.
“It is so authentic that we have the opportunity for the children to learn and experience [the culture] directly with the costumes and different dance styles and the language itself,” said Mrs. Latcham, adding that it made her feel “peaceful.”
Mr. Latcham loved the dance piece entitled The Monkey King Thwarts the Evil Toad. Adapted from the classic novel Journey to the West, the story follows a monk and his disciples on a quest for Buddhist scriptures—a journey complete with magic powers, epic battles, celestial fairies, and royal palaces.
“That was just great,” he said, adding that he appreciated the bilingual emcees, who explained each story before it played out on stage.
“It was nice to have the narrative with [the emcees]. It was nice to see they were accommodating to both languages.”
Mr. Singh was struck by Shen Yun’s trademark digital moving backdrops, which provide context and unexpected surprises to each story.
“The special effects just blended in so perfectly,” he said.
Mr. Latcham concurred, saying he recognized the backdrop images as authentic scenes from the Middle Kingdom: “I saw the backdrop of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, it brought some memories back. It was very nice, tied it all together,” he said.
Mr. Singh said he “learned a lot” and gained a deeper appreciation for traditional Chinese culture after seeing the show.
“We learn about how talented the culture is,” he said. “The pageantry is steeped in history, so it just brings it to life.”
Reporting by Donna He and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Its World Company will perform in Toronto from Jan. 23-26. 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 reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.