MONTREAL—When the president of an electronics company married to the operations manager for another high-tech company come to Shen Yun Performing Arts, it’s inevitable they will talk about the show’s digitally projected background.
This animated backdrop uses state-of-the-art graphics technology to effectively extend the stage, making it a window to different realms, from the snow-capped Himalayas, to an epic battleground on the Yangtze River nearly 2,000 years ago, and even the underwater palace of the Dragon King.
“It adds a lot of life and it becomes really like a story that you can easily understand. Even though we don’t have the cultural background, we can understand the story very well with that screen in the back,” said André Spilmann.
If you ask Mr. Spilmann what he does, he will tell you he’s an engineer. He’s also the president of QMA Electronics, which offers best-in-class manufacturing of circuits boards.
He said he enjoyed the way the scenes on the backdrop interact with the action on the stage throughout the performance.
“I like the way they bring part of it to life and they bring the life back to the screen. I really like that, I find it really clever the way they did it,” he said.
His wife, Marie Ouimet, agreed.
“That’s really interesting. I really like the concept about it. My mother was telling me ‘Oh it’s like magic! Look at that! How do they do that?’ It’s really nice, it brings probably something they couldn’t do with just a standard background. So I think it adds to the magic,” she said.
Ms. Ouimet is the operations manager for a company that assembles computer cables and electronic harness assemblies.
The couple comes to Place des Arts regularly, but they had not seen a Shen Yun performance until that afternoon, despite wanting to come for a few years, said Mr. Spilmann.
“It’s very impressive,” he said.
“I’m very impressed with the costumes, the dance and the synchronization, and the music. Also, I really like the choreography and how it fits with the music,” he said.
“It’s really inspiring, that’s for sure,” said Ms Ouimet.
“I think it’s a lot more emotional than classical ballet, so I guess that’s the part I liked the most about what I’ve seen,” she said.
“I think classical ballet is really stiff, [but in Shen Yun] we could see the joy and happiness, or sadness, like there was a lot of…”
“Expression,” finished her husband.
“Expression, yes, that you could see. Some were funny, some were more gracious. There were a lot things, different things in there. I thought it was really nice,” continued Ms. Ouimet.
While most of Shen Yun is comprised of classical Chinese dance, an art form passed down for thousands of years, the company also presents folk dances from China’s different regions and ethnic dances from some of the other groups found there. One such group is the Hmong.
Mr. Spilmann really enjoyed the dance “In a Village of the Hmong, and “all the little bells” worn by the dancers, he said.
“I found that very different from anything I had seen before.” He said he was quite taken with “the way they were playing with the bells and the costumes.”
“I really liked the one with the long sleeves, I thought it was so gracious,” said Ms. Ouimet. “Actually my eyes were all watery. I thought it was just beautiful.”
That dance, called “Sleeves of Grace,” offers a scene in early spring where gentle maidens glide with dainty steps, their movements accentuated with long sleeves that trail their hands.
Reporting by Weiya Yang
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will perform in Montreal until Sunday before continuing on to Quebec City. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts a significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.