MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts illustrated the connection between humans and the divine through its delightful singing and dancing at the Living Arts Centre on April 28. The Chinese dance company’s aim is to revive the glorious 5,000-year-old divinely inspired culture that has nearly been lost after decades of communist rule.
And what better way to do it than through the universal art of singing, dancing, and music, as well as colourful costumes and a unique orchestra featuring traditional Chinese instruments.
Tom Savoy, a recently retired banker, said that through Shen Yun he is “learning a little bit more” about Chinese traditional culture.
“I think it is a wonderful message,” he said.
He said he had been reading about the Chinese regime’s Cultural Revolution—a campaign to destroy people’s belief in virtue and faith in the divine—and Shen Yun thus piqued his interest.
Through Shen Yun’s interpretation of the divine, Mississauga theatregoers identified with their own spirituality.
“They did have the message of getting back to heaven and I do believe in heaven,” Mr. Savoy said. “It was interesting to see the path that they chose.”
“I was fascinated by the athleticism of the dancers. We underestimate how difficult that would be to do those movements. And who knew that this was thousands of years old, so I was very impressed by that,” Mr. Savoy said.
“It’s beautiful—very captivating,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., after seeing the Mississauga show.
A Shen Yun performance features a number of group dances, story-dances in which classical stories are brought to life, and soloists—both singing and instrumental. It’s a performance that brings out ancient traditional values.
“Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Singing and Dancing
Most of Shen Yun’s dance is classical Chinese dance, which is a deeply expressive art form. But it also has very difficult tumbling and jumping techniques.
“The gymnastics part of it, I found very demanding and I thought it was done extremely well,” Mr. Robertson said of the dance “Drums of the Grasslands.” Gymnastics and acrobatics actually originate from classical Chinese dance.
Shen Yun’s award-winning singers use the bel canto technique while singing Chinese text and retaining proper pronunciation. “Today, these singers’ ability to do this is unparalleled,” according to Shen Yun’s website.
Claire Collins, who accompanied Mr. Robertson, greatly appreciated the singing of the soloists.
“Their facial expressions are very captivating and strong,” she said. The songs lyrics have deep meanings and are about philosophical reflections on human life.
“I’d recommend the show to somebody else. It’s very nice,” Mr. Robertson said. Ms. Collins agreed.
Cindy Zarins, a retiree who used to work in quality control, said she truly believes there is a connection between humans and the divine, which came through in Shen Yun’s performance.
Many of the pieces depict the interaction of mortals and divine beings with a dynamic backdrop showing wonderful heavenly realms.
Ms. Zarins felt spellbound and a renewed hope for the future. “It touched me. It was very, very fascinating,” she said.
It gave Ms. Zarins a particular inspiration: “We have too much technology and we are losing out human-to-human.”
Reporting by Lisa Ou, Dongyu Teng, NTD Television, and Rahul Vaidyanath
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.