Painter Delighted With Shen Yun
MONTREAL—Fine arts painter Stuart Mcdam took in Shen Yun’s third performance at Place des Arts on Jan. 9 and was enthralled by the entire production—the music, the dance, and the backdrops.
Shen Yun blends classical Chinese dance with a live orchestra and intricate costumes. Behind it all is a state-of-the-art digital backdrop that extends the stage to divine realms and bygone eras of China.
“Colourful, lively, and the music is very nice too, very appropriate,” said Mr. McAdam describing the performance overall. “The music is very interesting.”
Mr. McAdam is a Scot whose work has been featured in several group exhibitions in the U.K, Australia, Netherlands, and the U.S. He holds an honours bachelor’s degree in fine art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, Scotland. He’s now based in Montreal.
“There is nothing like a live orchestra as opposed to a soundtrack,” said Mr. McAdam. He recognized that one doesn’t often get to hear an orchestra with Chinese instruments. Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that a Western orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
Mr. McAdam attends many performances and has also worked at Place des Arts for some time. His 10 years of work in theatre make him think about shows differently in that he also considers the backstage aspect of the production.
He observed that since Shen Yun has a digitally animated backdrop without an excessive amount of props, the focus is on the dancers on stage.
Mr. McAdam enjoyed Shen Yun’s vivid animated backdrops, in particular, how they interact with the dancers on stage. They complement all aspects of the performance.
“That’s actually very nice, it’s not overdone so the focus is again on the artists,” said Mr. McAdam.
He liked some of the special effects whereby dancers disappear into the backdrop.
Shen Yun’s backdrops add a great deal of depth to the show with this eye-catching feature where performers are on stage the next moment and then fly off into the background the next.
“I appreciate especially something like the athleticism of the dancing, the agility, the way the artists can do the flips,” Mr. McAdam said.
The emcees explained how classical Chinese dance, the predominant dance form in Shen Yun’s performance, has evolved over thousands of years and includes leaps, flips, and tumbling techniques. It’s also very expressive with much inner meaning.
Shen Yun’s International Company will perform three more times at the 1,453-seat Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts before moving on to Quebec City.
Reporting by Nathalie Dieul and Rahul Vaidyanath
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. Its International Company will perform in Montreal until Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org