Toronto Showgoers Smitten by Shen Yun
Toronto Showgoers Smitten by Shen Yun

TORONTO—Shen Yun Performing Arts packed the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts for its opening show on Thursday evening with an audience as diverse as the culture before them.

Christian Egsgard said Shen Yun was like nothing he had seen before.

“The performance is awesome,” he said halfway through the show during intermission. 

Formerly a police officer, Mr. Egsgard now runs his own business, All Traffic Tickets, a paralegal firm specializing in taking on every kind of traffic ticket Ontario drivers might find themselves with. 

For Mr. Egsgard, Shen Yun offered a feast for the eyes and ears.

“All the colour, the beauty, and the dancing … in addition to the music—the three pieces all together.” 

He said Shen Yun’s dancers were “very technical, synchronized, and the choreography is very good.”

Shen Yun stages mainly classical Chinese dance, an art form passed down for thousands of years in China, dynasty after dynasty, enriched as it was practiced in imperial courts, opera houses, and theatres.

In addition, Shen Yun features bel canto vocal soloists, whom Mr. Egsgard also praised.

“The two singers were brilliant. Very rich, and very old culture—I like it very much.”

He would certainly come back to see the show again, he said.

“Definitely, and recommend it as well.” 

For accountant Anne Wright, Shen Yun was a stunning display of strength and artistry. 

“I am really enjoying the dancing and the costumes are amazing. Yes, they are absolutely gorgeous, and the athleticism of the dancers is really superb. I’ve been so impressed.”

One of many unique aspects to Shen Yun is its vividly animated digital backdrops, presenting spectacular landscapes that reflect China’s multifaceted geography, society, regions, and dynasties, and some scenes that even transcend the human world to enter heavenly paradises.

The backdrop designs complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance, including the characters, costumes, colours, dance movements, props, lighting, storyline, music, and special audio effects.

“The way they incorporate the backdrop into the story that the dancers are doing is very, very good. I’m really enjoying it,” Ms. Wright said. 

Ontario civil servant Justin Zelasko, who accompanied Ms. Wright, noted the precision of the large-group dances Shen Yun performed.

“I like the synchronization actually. I’ve been to a number of shows where there’s a lot of people on the stage dancing at the same time, and they’re not synchronized as well as they ought to be. But this is pretty impressive.” 

For Dr. Marek J. Celinski, a psychologist, it was his first experience seeing Shen Yun, and he was impressed from the start.

He described the dancing as “gracious, beautiful … showing so much light, so much expression.” 

Dr. Celinski felt that the unique culture Shen Yun presented was amazing and that the show is “its own inspiration and own manifestation of certain common human truths about hope and commitment to do good things in life.”

Aware of the harm done to Chinese culture in China, particularly under the brutal decade-long Cultural Revolution, he said he was glad to see that Shen Yun was “reviving what is beautiful and what contributes to humanity.”

“It is really a beautiful presentation of the culture and what values we all should cherish,” Dr. Celinski said.

Cynthia Hamlin, a financial planner with Investors Group, and her mother, Cecelia, were also among the audience Thursday night.

Cecilia was taken with the state-of-the-art digital technology in the backdrop.

“Everything is just amazing. We both like the way they work the screen in with the actual production. It is just well done. It’s just amazing. It’s beautiful.”

And both mother and daughter enjoyed the music of Shen Yun. The live orchestra blends the music of East and West seamlessly to create one fresh and harmonious sound that is unique.

“The music is wonderful,” said Ms. Hamlin. “It just goes to show you that music is universal.” 

“It’s educational,” Ms. Hamlin added, noting that the beauty and calibre of the production is definitely true to the commercials that she saw.

“This is even better than we expected,” she said.

Reporting by Renee Zheng and Orysia McCabe

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 Toronto until Jan. 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.

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