TORONTO—The founders of Victoria International Ballet Academy had heard about Shen Yun Performing Arts for several years and this year they were delighted to have the opportunity to see the renowned classical Chinese dance production when the company was in Toronto this weekend as part of its 2014 world tour.
“We heard a lot about it and we’ve seen the advertisements during the last few years and decided to finally come here and to attend it with our eyes of professionals,” said Vladimir Demine, principal of the academy.
“We appreciate very much the Chinese culture, so that’s why we came here to see how it’s done by one of the great companies,” he added.
Mr. Demine came to the performance with his wife, Victoria Mironova, co-founder and artistic director of the academy, who was a ballerina for 21 years after graduating from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, and who also completed teacher’s training at the Vaganova Academy in 1995.
“So flexible and beautiful—amazing,” said Ms. Mironova. “I like it so much, something special for us.”
The Victoria International Ballet Academy opened in 2003 and a year later became a specialized day school that combines academic education with professional ballet training, teaching the world-renowned Vaganova syllabus.
“Classical ballet is a little different,” Ms. Mironova said, explaining that “we’re dancing on points, we’re dancing in tutus, we’re dancing in romantic skirts—they are absolutely different costumes, different dance technique, but it’s excellent.”
New York-based Shen Yun explains that alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.
“It was correctly said,” noted Mr. Demine. “We see it’s very demanding, very difficult, very precise, requires a lot of training—and spirituality,” he added.
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by a group of leading overseas classical Chinese artists with a mission of reviving China’s divinely inspired culture.
Chinese culture is a 5,000-year-old ancient heritage enriched by principles such as benevolence, justice, wisdom, propriety, and respect for the heavens.
Shen Yun uses the performing arts to present stories that bring to life the essence of China.
With an all-new production, Shen Yun each year travels the world showcasing the beauty and gracefulness of classical Chinese dance as well as its highly challenging techniques such as flips and tumbles, while conveying essential traditional themes such as spiritual faith and courage, the triumph of good over evil, and humankind’ search for the meaning of life.
“We were not disappointed, everything—bright costumes, beautiful faces, very strong, handsome men. And of course all this new technology on stage,” said Mr. Demine.
He was referring to the state-of-the-art graphics technology used to create vividly animated settings on the digital backdrop behind the stage.
The striking designs both complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance, including the dance movements and choreography, the colours of the costumes, the characters and the story being told, the props and lighting, even special audio effects and particular notes played by the orchestra.
The couple also praised the grace and beauty of the female dancers.
“They are nice, excellent,” Ms. Mironova said of the female dancers.
“Beautiful girls,” said Mr. Demine. “We see a lot of training, a lot of everyday work. To bring this power, this energy to all this great huge audience requires a lot of preparation, and we can see that.”
The couple was also highly impressed by the large-scale production.
“We came here to learn from them—not only to enjoy, but to learn,” Mr. Demine said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
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.