Ballet Teacher Admires Emotional Range in Classical Chinese Dance

January 26, 2014 1:17 am Last Updated: January 26, 2014 1:17 am

TORONTO—Ballet teacher Chrissy Frechette experienced a whole new world of dance on Saturday, as she took in Shen Yun Performing Arts at Sony Centre. 

Mrs. Frechette, a ballerina and teacher at PSB Dance Academy in Newmarket, Ontario, attended the Jan. 25 evening performance with her husband, Chris Frechette. 

The classical Chinese dance performance was both stirring and expressive, she said.

“It’s a really good mix of emotions that we’ve seen in the show,” she said. “It seems to go from touching and sad to hopeful or joyous.” 

“Dance is all about conveying different types of emotion so I think it’s nice to see one extreme to another.”

Mrs. Frechette has been dancing in the Toronto area for over 20 years. In 2004, she successfully completed the highest level of accomplishment, the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. She has performed numerous lead roles at PSB Academy and other companies across Canada and in Europe. 

She noted the technical skills of Shen Yun dancers. 

“The precision of it and the timing amongst everybody that’s on stage is really excellent,” said Mrs. Frechette.

“[The dancing] is very good. I’m very impressed, the athleticism is really great.”

Classical Chinese dance was passed down and enriched for thousands of years in China, which allowed it to collect the wisdom and experience of each dynasty. According to the Shen Yun website, the complete system of dance is also considered to be one of the most expressive in the world. 

New York-based Shen Yun is on a mission to revive this art form, along with 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, as it tours around the globe.

Mr. Frechette, general manager of Lone Star Texas Grill in Newmarket/East Gwillimbury, said the dancers’ ability to land almost silently on their feet after performing athletic leaps and jumps, was amazing.

“I’m really impressed how softly they land on the stage and how graceful everything is,” he said. “It’s very impressive and I’m enjoying it.”

“The women and the men are very, very graceful and soft at landing,” agreed Mrs. Frechette. “It’s really great.”

The handmade costumes featured in the show—from the headdresses of Manchurian princesses to the flowing ‘water sleeves’ of the Han imperial dancers—were gorgeous, said Mrs. Frechette.

“It’s wonderful to look at,” she said. 

“Very vibrant, very nice,” added Mr. Frechette. “It’s very interesting overall.”

The couple also appreciated the vivid animation in Shen Yun’s high-tech digital backdrops. Timed precisely with the dancers, the backdrops act as an extension of the stage, adding exciting interaction and context to each story-dance.

“It’s pretty neat, it’s a nice dynamic to the show,” said Mr. Frechette.

“It’s neat to incorporate that into the whole performance, the way that they enter the stage with the use of [the backdrops] is really great,” said Mrs. Frechette.

Mr. Frechette said the orchestra—which includes traditional Chinese and Western instruments—was a highlight of the evening.

“I love orchestral live music and they’re great. It’s a nice change of styles for me so pretty interesting,” he said. 

“The mix of different instruments, compared to regular classical ballet music that I would hear, has been really entertaining,” added Mrs. Frechette. 

Mr. Frechette summarized his Shen Yun experience as “fun, entertaining, vibrant, exciting and interesting.”

Mrs. Frechette agreed: “It’s exciting, emotional and something different.”

Reporting by Sound of Hope Radio 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.