QUEBEC CITY, Canada—Composer, piano man, and entertainer Eric Racine was in the audience seat for a change on the opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts at Grand Théâtre de Québec on Jan. 13.
Mr. Racine was impressed with the show and enjoyed himself immensely.
“I’m having a really good time,” he said during the intermission. “I love the costumes. I love the choreography. I know a lot about dance, so I’m very, very happy.”
Mr. Racine has composed music for various productions including Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eos, and Myster Act. He is also a piano teacher and has played professionally at a variety of venues across Canada.
He was intrigued by the traditional Chinese instruments featured in Shen Yun. Blended into a philharmonic orchestra, ancient instruments such as the erhu, pipa, and gong are a staple in the performance.
“The music is beautiful, well-performed, and sounds great,” he said, adding that the musical arrangements were distinctly Eastern and transported him to another world.
“For me it’s feeling as if I’m elsewhere. … I imagine myself that there’s part of this sound that’s ancient,” Mr. Racine noted.
With four companies simultaneously touring the globe, New York-based Shen Yun is on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music.
“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” says the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Racine appreciated the high-level talent of the dancers, who perform folk dance from China’s many ethnic regions in addition to story-based classical Chinese dance.
“What’s very very good for me is the dance—the quality of the dancers and the style of the dance,” he said. “It has that classical feel but we feel also the oriental, the ethnic.”
Classical Chinese dance was passed down over thousands of years, drawing wisdom and influence from each era and dynasty, according to the Shen Yun website. One of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, it is also well suited to portraying Chinese myths and legends—expressing a wide range of emotions, characters, and traditional values.
These values—guided by the three pillars of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism—struck a chord with Mr. Racine.
“I understand always finding the balance with nature but balance as well with ourselves,” he said. “You can’t push in one way—you have to stay in harmony, with the environment and other people.”
According to the Shen Yun website, the story-dances “give dramatic portrayal to the cherished stories of past and present.”
“Their figures embody the most exalted virtues of Chinese civilization, and convey a message or moral that is still relevant in our day.”
Reporting by Wei Ya and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.