‘It’s really magnificent’: Ballet Teacher Humbled by Beauty of Shen Yun
MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Ballet teacher Megan Robb returned to Shen Yun Performing Arts for the fifth year on the afternoon of April 28 at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre.
She brought along six family members to enjoy the experience with her. For next year, she hopes she can bring her dance students as well.
For Ms. Robb, Shen Yun is always a special treat.
“It’s really magnificent to come watch every single year,” she said.
Established in 2006, Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Based in New York, the company’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of glorious Chinese civilization.
Shen Yun features classical Chinese dance, an art form refined and perfected through thousands of years, as well as folk and ethnic dance from China’s various regions.
“It’s always seamless and beautiful and very well-rehearsed,” said Ms. Robb who has been teaching Russian ballet for the past 16 years and dancing it for over 28 years.
She is currently the CEO of Sky Phoenix Studios, co-owner of Relever Academy of Performing Arts, and a choreographer at Theatre Ancaster. She also worked as a dance teacher and program coordinator at the Hamilton Conservatory of the Arts for the past several years.
Watching Shen Yun’s dances this year once again proved to be a valuable experience.
“Just to come watch the artistry behind it, but also the choreography is always so intricate. It’s very exciting. The prop use–every year it’s something different with the props, but it’s always perfect. It’s meticulous. I really appreciate how intricate it all is,” she said.
According to the Shen Yun website, each prop tells a story and strengthens “a dancer’s ability to convey intricate emotions.” The props include fans, handkerchiefs, swords, and more.
Ms. Robb was particularly impressed by the props in the dance “Fairies of the Sea,” which uses fans to mimic waves while the dancers’ soft blue skirts swirl gracefully around them.
“Manchurian Maidens” also stood out for her. In this dance, ladies of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) dance with raised “flower pot” shoes and wide headdresses.
“I have to talk about the high heeled shoes that they were using. I can only imagine how difficult that is,” she said.
“I train young dancers with pointe shoes and I know how hard that is … some of the moves that they were able to do up on those shoes and just the strength and the control and grace. It was beautiful,” she said.
Ms. Robb was also impressed by the male dancers.
“They’re so strong and so well-trained and they just have this grace about them, but it’s so powerful. The height that they can get inside of their jumps is just superb to watch. True athletes.”
Classical Chinese dance is comprised of three basic elements: form, bearing (inner spirit), and technique. Ms. Robb was fascinated by the depth and richness of the dance form.
“We don’t have anything like that in the ballet world. It’s really nice to come in and see just how cultural and spiritual the dancing is.”
“You connect spiritually with the movements and the dances that are going on,” she said. “It’s very uplifting and hopeful. It’s a really nice way to share that culture.”
Ms. Robb is grateful to discover the authentic Chinese values in Shen Yun.
“The Buddhist culture has come to Western America and we’re taking it in. But to come in and watch the way that it’s meant to be presented, the way that it’s meant to be perceived from the actual culture that it resonates from, it’s really important as well. So it’s really nice to watch,” she said.
Ms. Robb feels she is leaving the show with much inspiration in her own teaching.
“I definitely need to increase my prop work with my kids. I’m going to go and find all sorts of things I’d like to dance with now because I love watching that here,” she said.
“It’s all very inspirational.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Madalina Hubert
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.