OTTAWA, Canada—Fashion model Joel Bourdeau had one of the best seats of the house—”first row right in the middle”—and was thrilled by the colours and their perfect coordination, among other aspects, at the renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts evening show on Saturday.
“Couldn’t get a better seat,” said the professional model, who has been in the field for 20 years and is now semi-retired.
It was his first experience of classical Chinese dance and he noted how much he enjoyed the performance.
“This performance is absolutely amazing, … like the colour of the costumes, the choreography is absolutely beautiful, the dance, and the music, everything balanced together—absolutely great,” he said.
“Everything was matched perfectly for me. The make-up especially, it was very well done with the hairstyle and the expression of each dancer. [There] was a lot of character on them and that made the show very interesting.”
Sitting in the first row, what struck Mr. Bourdeau was being able to see the vividness of the performers’ facial expressions.
The Shen Yun website explains that classical Chinese dance in a theatrical setting involves an acting dimension, but it is a different kind of acting from that in film, drama, opera, traditional Chinese theatre arts, or Broadway musicals. This acting “involves coordinating facial expression with physical movement, which, when merged together, results in an amplified form of expression.”
Classical Chinese dance movements are driven by inner feelings and are rich in their ability to express a myriad of emotions, the website said, such as happiness, sorrow, anger, grief, infatuation, sickness, majesty, and solemnity; in short, they are capable of expressing every kind of personality or story.
“Facial expression was something I found jumped [out],” Mr. Bourdeau said, in particular noting that the artists’ facial expressions remained elegant even while performing difficult dance movements such as the flips, spins, and jumps of classical Chines dance.
“They were jumping really like in the Olympics. That’s what I found really interesting. Very well done,” he said, while at the same time “they all have beautiful [smiles], a lot of smiles…”
“It was very happy,” said Mr. Bourdeau.
As someone who did not know very much about China before, he found that he now has a greater appreciation of the Middle Kingdom, such as the clothing, architecture, and landscapes, thanks to the striking costumes and animated digital backdrop that accompany each piece.
“There’s something I can tell from the background. It brings you the buildings and [scenery], and with the dance, with the costumes that were matching,” Mr. Bourdeau said.
“The colours, everything was matching very well with the background, with the smooth music, and it’s, for me, it was absolute.”
Sitting in the first row, there was another aspect that stood out for Mr. Bourdeau.
“To see the orchestra,” he said.
He had a close-up look at some traditional Chinese instruments that he had never seen before, such as the erhu, or Chinese violin; the pipa, a Chinese lute; and the suona, a double reed woodwind instrument that produces a unique, playful, and distinctively Chinese sound.
“I have the opportunity to see it down in the first row – the instruments they’re playing. It’s amazing. Very nice!”
Mr. Bourdeau said he had a great evening and “it was an experience I will remember all my life.”
He added that he would definitely recommend it to others.
“I’ll recommend it big time!” he said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform 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 reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.