TORONTO—Russian-born prima ballerina Tanya Trankvelitskaia has captivated audiences as a principal dancer since the 1970s.
Now living and teaching ballet in Toronto, she was at Sony Centre on Saturday to experience world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“It’s wonderful—wonderful arm [movements], and the jumps are amazing,” she said after the Jan. 25 evening performance.
“Amazing, amazing show.”
Broadcast engineer Ilya Doronia attended the Shen Yun performance with Ms. Trankvelitskaia and said it was a fresh new experience.
“It’s just very interesting to see something different because usually we go to classical ballet performances and [Shen Yun] is something new and interesting.”
Ms. Trankvelitskaia started her career in the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, and became a prima ballerina at age 19. She went on to perform lead roles in prestigious theatres around the world, in addition to special solo performances for world leaders such as United States President Richard Nixon in 1972 and the Queen of Spain in 1998. She has also played the role of a ballerina in several Hollywood films.
She was impressed with the large-scale group dances in Shen Yun—often more than a dozen dancers gather on stage to perform in perfect precision.
“The group dance together, it’s very nice,” she said.
“The synchronization is great,” added Mr. Doronia.
Ms. Trankvelitskaia also appreciated the many story-based dances featured in the show. According to the Shen Yun website, each story aims to capture the essence of China’s traditional culture through a moral or message.
She was struck by the creativity in a dance called Ne Zha Churns the Sea, which follows the life of demi-god Ne Zha, who is first born as a meatball, turns into a boy, and then must defend his village from an evil dragon king.
“It was such an amazing story. I love dances with a story,” she said.
“The costumes were wonderful too,” she added.
Mr. Doronia agreed. “Very colourful,” he said.
In addition to classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun also features many ethnic and folk dances from China’s different regions and diverse ethnic groups.
Ms. Trankvelitskaia was taken with the Mongolian Chopsticks dance.
According to the program book, the male dancers in this piece use chopsticks to create a crisp and exciting staccato beat as they dance with fast, furious footwork—a testament to their free-spirited vitality.
“I have never seen Mongolian dance with chopsticks—it’s a good idea,” she said. “It’s interesting.”
Mr. Doronia also appreciated the digital animated backdrop featured in the performance, saying it added a lot to the dance.
“Very nice multimedia technology and combination with the dance and technology,” he said. “The screen is very good, very interesting.”
Reporting by Lisa Ou and Justina Wheale
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.