OTTAWA, Canada—Joanna Walsh and her husband Paul Prudhomme, both musicians, were glad they braved the snowstorm that struck Ottawa on Jan. 3 to take in the renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts show at the National Arts Centre.
“It’s lovely,” said Ms. Walsh. “The costumes are wonderful. The music is great. The creative screen in the background that becomes part of the dance—it’s just wonderful. It was worth coming out in the storm.”
“I thought it was very creative,” said her husband, who works as an information officer for Service Canada.
“I loved the dances. I loved the outfits—the costumes were remarkable—and I loved the orchestra itself. They’re spot on. It’s really, really good. The timing between the orchestra and the dancers—very, very well-executed. I like it, I like it a lot.”
The couple know a thing or two about music and performing. Up until a few years ago, they were members of Samba Ottawa, a community percussion group of about 20 musicians who play and sing samba, maracatu, samba-reggae, and other Brazilian and Afro-Latin rhythms.
Ms. Walsh played a large bass drum called a surdo, while Mr. Prudhomme played all the instruments in the group.
Ms. Walsh, who works for a group of real estate agents staging homes, was impressed with the Shen Yun Orchestra’s combination of Chinese traditional instruments such as the pipa and erhu with a Western orchestra—strings, woodwinds, and brass—creating a fresh, new sound.
“I really enjoyed the melding because there’s enough of the classical [Chinese] instruments … and yet there’s that little flavour of Western in there that would appeal to a Western audience as well,” she said.
According to its website, Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s 5,000-year-old culture—the essence of which was virtually destroyed by various campaigns initiated by the Chinese Communist Party, most notably the Cultural Revolution.
“I loved the performance, but I particularly liked the message that they’re carrying, because for a lot of people when we think of China, we don’t think of the long, long history and the way China was before things turned around under the communist regime—we think about the now and the present,” said Mr. Prudhomme.
“And it’s nice to know that that culture is [being revived] … due to Shen Yun. That’s quite nice. … I was delighted by it.”
Reporting by Madalina Hubert and Joan Delaney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
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.