“It is an honour and a pleasure to have this in Toronto,” he said at the Sony Centre venue during intermission.
“This is a first-rate troupe—I see the talent, the precision, the choreography—it’s really remarkable.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed by a group of leading overseas classical Chinese artists in 2006 upon a mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
Mr. Pasternak, councillor for Ward 10 (York Centre), said the artists had succeeded at reaching their lofty goal.
“When you think of 5,000 years, it’s a remarkable piece of time in history, and to see it in music, in dance and beautiful costumes and beautiful backdrops, it’s just a marvellous night of entertainment and history,” he said.
The popularity of Shen Yun and its high-level talent was a reflection of China’s rich culture, he added.
“A reflection of the magnificent culture of China, and a reflection of the great Chinese community we have here in Toronto,” he said. “It’s really a great night of entertainment. We’re thoroughly enjoying ourselves.”
Mr. Pasternak admired the traditional Chinese values expressed in the story-based dances, saying that they could benefit everyone. According to the Shen Yun website, each presentation aims to capture the essence of the culture and often has a moral to convey.
“Certainly the values that we want to espouse in Toronto and in all societies—our respect, our tolerance, appreciation of history, the understanding of adversity—these are core values that we cherish here in Toronto and that we cherish worldwide,” said Mr. Pasternak.
He also appreciated the spirituality ingrained in traditional Chinese culture.
As noted on the Shen Yun website, for thousands of years China’s cultural values were based on the three pillars of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism before the Chinese Communist Party decimated this ancient culture in order to introduce its official policy of atheism.
“[Shen Yun] has that great connection between the geography, the physical setting, the ocean, the mountains, the heavens, the spiritual and the Earth,” Mr. Pasternak said.
“These are great connections brought together by dance, by beautiful costumes, by fantastic music. It’s really quite a performance.”
Shen Yun is important because it reminds audiences to learn from history, he added.
“We always need a connection with our history, with our past. We need to connect current generations with past generations. That is what sustains communities. That is what sustains culture and history. That’s an important message we can bring,” Mr. Pasternak said.
Reporting by NTD Television 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.