Shen Yun Performing Arts ended the Canadian leg of its international tour this past weekend with simultaneous shows in Vancouver and Toronto, played by two of the New York-based company’s four touring groups.
Since 2007, Shen Yun has been bringing its magic to Canada’s major cities, educating and inspiring audiences with its depiction of China’s ancient culture through the medium of classical Chinese dance.
As is the norm, audiences in both Vancouver and Toronto were quick to heap praise on Shen Yun and its unique place in the world of the performing arts. As Vancouver-based swimwear designer Sandra Higueras put it: “I’ve been to Broadway, and Broadway is great, but this is completely different. This is a cultural, theatrical experience.”
Ms. Higueras attended the Jan. 25 performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, where Shen Yun played four shows.
Equally impressed was Ike Lalji, the chairman of Miss World Canada. “We have shows, we have all kinds of talent, but what I saw tonight was the best I have ever seen,” he said.
Audience members often find something intangible in Shen Yun’s performances, an essence that many describe as inspiring and uplifting. Some say it imparts a message of hope.
Fine arts photographer David Bong shared that impression. “It’s a very enlightening show. I think it cultivates you. It gives you a sense of wonderment,” he said.
Ballet instructor Joanne Pussalp had high praise for the skill level of Shen Yun’s dancers.
“[The dancers’] flexibility is amazing, along with their strength and control. They made everything look easy, effortless,” she said.
”I loved the way the choreographers used the transition to get into different formations. I thought that was very clever, very fluent. Beautiful.”
Mixing the ancient with the modern, Shen Yun incorporates a large digital backdrop. For the story-based dances—mini-dramas that depict beloved legends and heroes from Chinese history—the backdrop is animated.
Jesus Yapor, a visual effects professional in the film industry, was impressed with the backdrop and its role in bringing ancient stories to life on stage.
“It’s very creative,” he said. “It’s very interactive with the performances and I think it works very well.”
‘They’re top-notch, stunning,’
MPP Glen Murray, who attended the Jan. 25 show at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, described the lavish production as “truly one of the greatest shows that anyone can see.”
“There’s nothing like it you will ever see onstage in Canada—it’s truly beautiful, artistic, it’s really brilliant,” he said.
Igor Vrabac, an established composer working largely in film and television, said he was moved by the performance.
“I feel enlightened and touched. I had tears in my eyes a few times,” he said. “Just the beauty of it … the honesty and sincerity of it—it was touching.”
World famous supermodel Stacey McKenzie said that whether Shen Yun’s dancers were playing certain parts or simply dancing, the culture they presented looked deeply personal and genuine.
“It was amazing. It didn’t look like they were trying to dance … You could tell it was embedded in them—it’s a part of who they are.”
As a music producer, Linda Nash was especially struck by the Shen Yun Orchestra, which consists of a Western philharmonic orchestra that plays the foundation while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
“The orchestra is exquisite,” she said. “The orchestra is probably one of the finest I’ve ever heard. Using the large orchestra, symphonic orchestra, as a background to this ancient form of music and dance is brilliant.”
Ballerina Dana Von der Crone, who danced classical ballet for many years and has performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, said the Shen Yun dancers gave an impeccable performance.
“It’s spectacular. I’m almost speechless because I loved it so much,” she said. “They’re top-notch, they’re stunning, they’re articulate–they’re everything that you could want to see in a dancer.”
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. For more information, visit: www.ShenYun.com