MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Peter Sabbagh, a real estate developer in the Greater Toronto Area, estimates he has seen Shen Yun Performing Arts at least 10 times. And with the performance currently touring Eastern Canada, he’s considering following it from Mississauga, where he attended the April 28 show, to some of its other stops so he can see it again.
What’s the allure?
“I love the instruments, the music, the entertainment, the story, and the history,” he said after the show at the Living Arts Centre.
“I love the voices, and when the lyrics are explained it adds so much culture, to the voice. And the music, and the beauty, and the dresses, and the colours—I don’t know, I feel like I’m in heaven.”
The final piece in the show, “Hope for the Future,” particularly struck a chord with him. It pertains to an ancient Chinese belief—the idea that we all come from the heavens and that, by becoming good, we can one day find our way back home.
“We all hope for the future, and sometimes you give up because there seems to be lately a lot of bad things happening in the world, and there seems to be a lot of sadness, evil, I’m sorry to say. So it’s like a breath of fresh air to say ‘no,’ we still have God. We still have goodness in us,” he said.
New York-based Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s traditional culture through worldwide performances of classical Chinese dance and music. Shen Yun is reviving the core or the essence of the 5,000-year-old culture: a deep reverence for the divine. The ancients believed that the culture was passed down from the heavens, and it is thus said to be divinely inspired.
The spiritual aspect of the show also resonated with Mr. Sabbagh.
“Well maybe that’s why I enjoy it more because it is spiritual, because I am spiritual too. That’s why I enjoy it even more,” he said.
He added that he was taking “hope and goodness” home with him from the performance.
‘It made me feel very calm’
The spirituality in Shen Yun also struck a chord with Frank and Mary Mansley, both retired.
“It was meaningful and it blended together very well. It was done in not a pushy way but a very thoughtful and spiritual way,” said Mr. Mansley.
“I felt like there was a connection between the Earth and Heaven. There was that spirituality. I’m very spiritual myself, so I connected with that,” said his wife.
Like Mr. Sabbagh, they especially enjoyed the final piece, “Hope for the Future.”
“That came off very well. Hopefully we’ll all get there one of these days. I believe in Heaven so I can relate to it,” said Mr. Mansley.
Shen Yun performances feature award-winning classically trained dancers and a unique orchestra that combines traditional Chinese instruments with a classical Western orchestra. The backdrops are also unique in that they’re animated, which enhances the story-telling.
“I enjoyed the whole thing,” said Mrs. Mansley.
“I love the fact that it made me feel very calm and very peaceful. And I could see that in Chinese people. They’re very kind and I think that comes from that tradition [portrayed] in the show, in the performances. It’s all very smooth and very calm.”
“The talent was extremely good,” said her husband. “They did an excellent job, all of them.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Lisa Ou, and Joan Delaney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company is currently touring Eastern Canada. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.