TORONTO—Visual arts teacher Maria Dutrisac did not expect to be taken on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese history for her birthday on Sunday, but that is precisely the gift she received.
Mrs. Dutrisac’s husband, Raymond Dutrisac, surprised her with tickets to Toronto’s final 2014 performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts—the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.
She was thrilled with the experience and, as an artist, was drawn to the colour and movement onstage—particularly the formations of the large group dances.
“I realized they use the costumes to bring in the colour and also the design. Many of the dresses the girls are wearing form into something visual while they’re dancing,” she said.
“It’s versatile, and that brings out the colour and the design.”
Mr. Dutrisac, a painter and builder who does art-inspired renovations, said the use of colour in the performance was smart.
“The costumes being so colourful, it attracts your attention to the dance and the performance a lot more,” he said.
“The colour and the dancers are professionals and their movements are quite captivating.”
According to the Shen Yun website, costume designers use brilliant colours to tailor and recreate hundreds of new pieces each season. The designers stress “harmonic balance and contrast” and their objective is “an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed in 2006 by overseas Chinese artists who had a vision to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture—a culture that has all but disappeared under decades of suppression by the communist regime.
Mrs. Dutrisac, who was a history major in university, said the story-based dances expressed the traditional culture beautifully.
“Every culture has its own needs, where it was born from, explaining the world, and the Chinese have a lot of that. They put that into their dancing, which is beautiful,” she said.
“It’s a good backdrop for the dance itself,” added Mr. Dutrisac.
Mr. Dutrisac was also impressed by the vividly animated digital backdrops featured in the show. Acting as an extension of the stage, the backdrops interact with the dancers and project landscapes from China’s multifaceted regions.
“The mythology and the graphics as well, it’s pretty clever,” he said. “Pretty ingenious really.”
The backdrops are also timed precisely to create the illusion the dancers can leap in and out of the screen.
“It’s amazing. They combine the film so you see the actual thing happening like a movie, and then they come out of the screen,” said Mrs. Dutrisac.
“That’s very smart. I’ve never seen that before.”
“They also incorporate real-life temples and other things in detail. I thought that was pretty good,” added Mr. Dutrisac.
“They incorporated real footage with 3-D animation, which I thought was pretty clever.”
Reporting by Matthew Little and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. 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.