Of particular note, they said, was how Shen Yun incorporated classical Chinese dance with its vividly animated digital backdrop.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s wonderful,” said Mr. Wagner.
“The kids behind us were mesmerized by the backdrop,” Mrs. Wagner added.
It was the couple’s first time to see Shen Yun, and Mrs. Wagner, an interior designer with her own firm, Beverly Wagner Design, said the production very much impressed her.
“I think it’s amazing; I love the colour of the costumes and I love the special effects. The dragon was great.”
Mrs. Wagner was referring to a piece titled Ne Zha Churns the Sea, in which a mythical demi-god battles an evil dragon king that terrorizes a beachside village.
With her design background, Mrs. Wagner noted the unique colour combinations of the handmade costumes. “The silks are beautiful, all the colours put together. And the colours are so strong that they make a really visual impression.”
According to the Shen Yun website, the company’s costume designers strive for “an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect.”
At the heart of Shen Yun productions is classical Chinese dance, an art form passed down in imperial courts and opera houses for thousands of years in China, enriched dynasty after dynasty.
Mr. Wagner, a bioethicist at Toronto Central CCAC, said he enjoyed the performance immensely.
“I loved the way they dance—they are so light on their feet. You watch the feet but they are complicated patterns.”
Mr. Wagner was a senior manager at the Ontario Ministry of Health and has served as a board member or chair for several health institutions in Toronto.
He said he loved the music of Shen Yun’s orchestra, which includes Western orchestral instruments and Chinese instruments.
“I love it. The two-string [erhu] was also in combination with another instrument. The two of them were just beautiful. It’s nice having a live orchestra,” he said.
Reporting by Lisa Ou and Pam McLennan
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.