Former Ukrainian Dancer Finds Own Culture in Shen Yun

January 3, 2015 Updated: May 19, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada—Beverley Ann Bazowski was in for an unexpected experience on Friday night at the National Arts Centre watching Shen Yun Performing Arts.

The renowned Chinese dance and music company opened in Ottawa that night with a performance rooted in 5,000 years of civilization.

The former Ukrainian dancer and health & fitness program leader was visiting from Saskatoon and decided to spend her last day in Ottawa by watching Shen Yun.

It was Ms. Bazowski’s first time watching Chinese dance, and the dancing and the music resonated with her more deeply than she had anticipated.

“I had a few tears initially because when I heard the music it reminded me of the Ukrainian music,” she said.

“[For certain dances], their culture and their ethnicity, it was very similar to my culture— Ukrainian.”

One of the dance pieces, “Spirit of the Yi,” depicted the rugged mountains of Yunnan Province where men of the Yi ethnicity emerge at the call of a shepherd’s horn.

For Ms. Bazowski, this reminded her of the Hutsul, a native group living mainly in the Carpathian mountains of Ukraine.

“At times I felt like I was listening to my music, to my Ukrainian music,” she said.

“It was wow, nostalgia, [it] took me back to when I was on stage. … I could hear the music and I wanted to dance,” she said. “But when I heard the music I wanted to dance Ukrainian.”

In her youth, Ms. Bazowski performed nationally and internationally with the Saskatoon-based Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble.

Watching the Tibetan ethnic dance “Snow-Capped Celebration” reminded her of the Ukrainian Cossacks.

“They were just like our Cossacks but they had a different energy. It was soft and strong, where the Cossacks are just out there, in your face,” she said.

Ms. Bazowski said she wanted to clap along with the dancers’ movements.

“Watching it, I thought it was a blend of strength and softness,” said Ms. Bazowski of Shen Yun’s dance performances. “The softness I didn’t expect.

“The whole blend was quite spectacular,” she added, referring to the combination of the orchestra and dance.

Ms. Bazowski also had high appreciation for the other aspects of the performance.

“The costumes were out of this world. Absolutely. They just took your breath away,” she said.
She was particularly impressed by the scene changes.

“Coming from a background of knowing what it’s like to be on stage and having 10 seconds backstage to change a costume, they did things within a millisecond.

“The whole scene, the backdrop, everything, that was quite incredible. That in itself is worth to see.”

Ms. Bazowski said she would take back a few program books to share with her friends in Saskatoon in case they have the chance to see Shen Yun in one of the cities where it is performing.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit

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.