TORONTO—”This is a great way to experience a different culture,” said Susan Vilhena after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Sony Centre in Toronto on April 23.
“It’s a way to look into a different culture, and to appreciate the history of a different culture. … I think everyone would like to learn a little about Chinese history; it’s just a wonderful experience,” she said.
Ms. Vilhena, an academic director at a language school, and her companion Manny Bernardo came to see Shen Yun for her birthday, and she wasn’t disappointed.
“It’s been fantastic so far. We went for a lovely dinner and then we came to this show. It’s beautiful,” she said during the intermission.
Mr. Bernardo, an IT manager, was also enjoying the performance.
“It’s been very nice. I like the colours, the costumes, the music is beautiful, and the dancing is just spectacular,” he said.
New York-based Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by a group of leading classical Chinese artists who wished to revive the true traditional culture of China that had been all but lost following decades of communist rule. They’ve since toured internationally every year, bringing the Middle Kingdom’s rich culture to audiences through classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music.
Mr. Bernardo also appreciated the more technological aspect of the performance—Shen Yun’s innovative digitally projected animated backdrops.
“I like the graphics, I like the way they fly through the air and then pop back in human form and go back into digital form. It’s actually very, very nice, eye-catching,” he said.
Babak Soleymani, a dentist, and his friend Rick Olazabal, a doctor, also enjoyed the performance.
“I think it’s great. Very colourful. Very unlike the things that you usually see,” said Mr. Soleymani. “I think it’s very interesting that they are trying to [revive] the culture that they had before.”
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Mr. Olazabal. “Like very colourful, so engaging, the passion, the dancers—fantastic.”
Mark Stokes, a lab technician, was also impressed.
“It’s very good,” he said.
“I just like the energy of the show. It seems like it has a positive message. It’s kind of a celebration of life and the bond between humans, even if they are not family. That’s what I’m taking away from it anyways.”
“The way they weave nature and humanity, it’s all kind of like one unified thing,” he added.
Asked what impressed him the most, Mr. Stokes said, “For me, I keep coming back to this place of colour. Everything feels so alive, feels so vibrant. That’s what I like the most, that’s what I enjoy the most.”
Lawyer Dave Kobo was looking forward to the second half when he shared his thoughts during the intermission.
“It’s a wonderful show, really enjoying it. Enjoying the dancing, the music, the colours,” he said.
He said there was a connection with nature and belief in the performance.
“It enables them to be in sync with nature—I think that’s powerful.”
Reporting by Becky Zhou, Lisa Ou, 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.