Community Leader: Shen Yun Is ‘Very Uplifting’

February 5, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

VANCOUVER, Canada—In the third of a four-show run at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Shen Yun Performing Arts attracted a talented and diverse audience on Saturday evening.

Local community leader, arts champion, and former bank executive Terry Pask was in attendance and was inspired by the performance.

“I thought the show was very special,” he said.

“I loved the dynamics, the colour, the movement, the music, the story, the excitement, the energy, the fun, but most of all I think it was a treat.”

Mr. Pask is a champion of the arts and social programs, and currently sits on the board of directors for three Vancouver-based organizations: the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Opera Foundation, and the Health and Home Care Society of BC.

Before his retirement he also enjoyed an extensive and successful career in marketing, new business development, and corporate relations, most recently as director of development at Canadian Western Bank & Trust.

He said Shen Yun helps audiences to truly understand China. The New-York based dance company has taken it as its mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture through the medium of classical Chinese dance.

The story-based dances tell ancient and modern legends with the aim of expressing the very core of traditional Chinese culture—a culture all but destroyed under decades of violent repression by the Chinese communist regime.

“We all need to learn more [about China]. To really learn, to me, is to understand the history. So I thought that the underlying message was very strong,” Mr. Pask said.

“It’s very uplifting. It’s very stimulating.”

Mr. Pask added that he thought it was sad the show cannot travel to China.

Since the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, traditional Chinese art forms have been persecuted and co-opted by the regime, replaced with propaganda-art that is designed to legitimize the Party.

Since Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the divinely inspired culture of China and revive all things traditional, the Party has made great efforts to sabotage its performances around the world, and have effectively blocked it from entering China.

According to the Shen Yun website, it is only outside of China that the artists have the ability to freely express themselves and their ancient culture, and speak openly about the country’s systematic cultural repression.

Mr. Pask was deeply inspired by Shen Yun’s mission and themes of freedom, righteousness, and the triumph of good over evil.

“The theme is an awakening theme, the theme is aimed at what is right,” he said.

“We have to realize that some things we hear about are not necessarily true, and we have to be educated in such a way so we can shape our opinions and look at things very differently.”

Reporting by Jeanne Ouyang and Justina Wheale

Shen Yun’s New York Company will perform one more show in Vancouver before leaving Canada. The production will return in April to perform in Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina.

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