Dancer-Turned-Executive Says Shen Yun Has It All

January 4, 2014

OTTAWA, Canada—Bill Sioulas has a passion for dance, having performed as an international dancer on tour with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in a multiculturalism show.

Now a real estate executive, as Regional Director for Skyline Commercial Management Inc., Mr. Sioulas still contributes to Ottawa’s arts scene and is an instructor and choreographer in Greek dance.

He also produces a Zorba show for Ottawa’s annual Greek festival and organized a flash mob zorba dance that has garnered three million hits on YouTube.

Mr. Sioulas said he had always wanted to see Shen Yun and was glad he finally got the chance on Friday.

“I am amazed at the amount of detail that is put into the show and the history that is represented,” he said.

He said he has seen many national dance groups perform folk, classical, and other types of dances in the U.S. and Canada, but there was something about Shen Yun.

After years of being involved in dance, he knows what to look for, he said.

“You always look for this meticulous detail in hand motion, head motion, leg position motion, of multiple of dancers to see if they are lined up.”

In Shen Yun’s case, it was, he said.

“I really really enjoyed the show, it was so accurate … a very very high-end performance of professional dancers,” he said.

Shen Yun stages performances of classical Chinese dance, as well as ethnic and folk dances from China’s diverse ethnicities. Shen Yun was founded on a mission to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, a heritage largely destroyed after 60 years of communist rule in China, most critically the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s.

“And the music complementing these motions tonight was really inspiring for me,” Mr. Sioulas said.

That music comes from a unique symphony orchestra that uses Western instruments as its base and has Chinese traditional instruments like the pipa or erhu leading the melodies.

As a person from the field of arts, Mr. Sioulas said he would highly recommend Shen Yun to his friends. “It’s definitely a recommend,” he said.

He also praised Shen Yun’s vividly animated digital backdrops, a technology Shen Yun pioneered.

“That was special, that was great, because it showed a bit of special effects,” he said.

He said he liked how animated characters came in and out of the backdrop, interacting with the dancers on the stage.

“I haven’t seen that before so I was really excited about that.”

In all, there much to like, he said.

“The music and the high-end type of dancing, and the history … you learn about the culture.”

Mr. Sioulas said he was surprised to hear that the program changes every year.

“That is pretty amazing. Of course I am going to be here next year.”

He praised the entire show as spectacular, including the musical soloists.

“I love the soloists,” he said.

Shen Yun’s World Company, one of four companies touring the world simultaneously, featured three vocal soloists during its performance in Ottawa. Mr. Sioulas said they were deeply stirring, especially tenor Tian Ge.

“He’s singing from the heart. When you’re reading that translation, you feel it very powerfully. That was amazing,” he noted.

“The lyrics were amazing, it was like poetry. I was really amazed at it, and followed it. Reading it yourself, putting it in your mind and listening to the sound of the voice with the power of the music, gave you that feeling of what is really going on, so I really appreciated it. It really felt heartwarming.”

Mr. Sioulas also gushed over erhu virtuoso Mei Xuan. The two-stringed erhu is China’s version of the violin, a soulful instrument with a sometimes mournful sound.

“I also loved the piece with that instrument,” he said.

“Each culture has its own instrument that defines its culture, and I think for the Chinese culture that instrument is the one that defines it through time.”

Shen Yun covered a lot of ground he said, and included many elements and themes that came together for powerful effect.

“It was touches of humour … of tragedy, of politics, of history, everything is within this performance here tonight.”

“The brightness, the lighting, and the power of the music brought it all together,” he said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Matthew Little

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will perform two more shows in Ottawa before continuing on to Montreal. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

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.