Canadian Stage Veterans Commend Shen Yun
KITCHENER, Canada—Veteran actor and director John Snowdon and his wife, Margaret, a stage manager with an eye for technical details, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts on Monday, Dec. 29, at Centre In The Square and had warm praise for the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.
In a career that has spanned more than 50 years, Mr. Snowdon, now retired, has directed over 80 live productions and served as the artistic director of eight theatres in Ontario.
In 1992, he was awarded the Commemorative Medal by the Canadian government, on behalf of the Queen, for his significant contribution to Canada through his work in theatre.
On Monday night, the couple came to enjoy a performance of classical Chinese dance by New York-based Shen Yun, a production that takes the audience on a tour of 5,000 years of Chinese history, from ancient times to today, spanning myths, legends, and historical tales.
“I find it very very well done,” said Mrs. Snowdon, who kept an eye on the technical aspects of the production.
Established in 2006 with a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired heritage, Shen Yun presents culture that has almost been entirely lost under decades of rule by the Chinese communist regime.
“It’s wonderful,” Mrs. Snowdon said of the performance, noting that she was impressed by the way the performers told the story and history through dance.
Classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, as explained on the Shen Yun website.
Continuously passed down among the common people, in the imperial courts, and through ancient plays, the dance form has evolved over thousands of years. It has become a complete dance system with unique and deeply expressive movements and rhythms that carry the rich cultural traditions of China and their inner meaning.
“They are speaking to the audience through dance,” noted Mrs. Snowdon of Shen Yun’s performers.
She praised “how expertly everything is carried out,” adding that “the precision of the dancing and the technical effects are really well done too.”
Her husband also complimented Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art animated backdrop.
“The backdrop is fabulous,” said Mr. Snowdon, who was impressed by how the different scenic backgrounds came to life during the performance.
The backdrop serves to extend the stage, taking the audience into another world, oftentimes interacting with the performers on stage.
The Snowdons also enjoyed Shen Yun’s music, performed by the Shen Yun Orchestra, which combines Eastern and Western instruments in a fresh, harmonious sound.
Mrs. Snowdon noted that she enjoyed the way the music was incorporated into the performance.
“Everything just blends in beautifully,” she said.
With reporting by Lisa Ou and Madalina Hubert