TORONTO—Many who see Shen Yun Performing Arts say they find the group’s presentation of China’s ancient culture inspiring and uplifting.
That pretty much summed up Amira Khalil’s experience, too, after she saw the Shen Yun matinee performance at the Sony Centre in Toronto on April 23.
“It was fantastic. It was the most colourful, uplfting show I think I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Ms. Khalil, a pharmacist.
“I just feel so up and happy,” she added. “I feel hopeful anyways, but it is an uplifting and positive show, definitely.”
It was much the same for her friend Paula Mitchell, a dog walker and pet sitter.
“Positive, uplifting,” she said of the performance.
“I loved the costumes. I loved the dancing. It’s like they were dancers suspended in air. They were just so light on their feet. And it was just that it was very beautiful, very classy, very decent. I loved it. We will be back.”
New York-based Shen Yun takes stories and legends from China’s 5,000-year history and presenting them to audiences through live orchestral music and dance—both ethnic and folk dances as well as classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form that is being revived by Shen Yun.
Ms. Khalil described the dancing as “top notch.”
“They are like very talented, very gifted, first class. All in sync, synchronized,” she said.
Shen Yun’s orchestra and its unique blend of Chinese and Western instruments also came in for praise.
“Loved it, absolutely fantastic. I just couldn’t even believe it was real—like not taped or something,” said Ms. Mitchell.
And they were especially enamoured with the erhu, a two-stringed instrument played with a bow that has a yearning, haunting sound.
“That was really amazing performance, very different. I’ve never seen that instrument played before,” said Ms. Khalil.
“Wonderful, wonderful,” said her friend.
‘I was a little bit in heaven’
Also attending the afternoon performance was skin specialist Edna Lelande, who said it was “really, really special.”
“You know what, there’s so much talent and spirit in it that I could feel that. I love it. And the movements, they are so gentle and so—it seemed that [the dancers] were walking on air. I was a little bit in heaven,” she said.
“And they put their whole heart [into it]. … We were right in the front so we could see their faces, their smiles, and they were dancing with love. I enjoyed that.”
Shen Yun portrays principles from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, such as compassion, justice, propriety, wisdom, and respect for the divine—values that are at the heart of traditional Chinese culture, according to the group’s website. Chinese culture was also believed by the ancients to
be divinely inspired.
This spiritual aspect of the performance was not lost on Ms. Lelande.
“That was really, really so powerful,” she said. “Fantastic. It is really, really special. I learned a lot about [the Shen Yun performers] today. Unbelievable. It’s lovely, and it’s spiritual, and it feels good. You come out of there and you are in another world; you feel better in a way.”
Reporting by Dongyu Teng, Matthew Little, 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.