TORONTO—Radio host Amanda Cupido drove three hours to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at Sony Centre on Saturday.
“I heard such good things about it,” Ms. Cupido explained after the Jan. 25 Saturday matinee performance.
“It’s my mom’s birthday, so my whole family came here to celebrate.”
Ms. Cupido is the morning show co-host and weekday news anchor for Moose 106.3 FM (CFXN) in North Bay, Ontario. She’s also a freelance contributor with the National Post, QMI Agency, and blogTO.
After watching the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music performance, Ms. Cupido was thrilled to understand more background about various symbols, characters, and stories from the Middle Kingdom, some of which were new to her while others were more familiar, like the red dragon.
“I always find it interesting to hear background stories and where cultures originated,” she said.
“So it’s nice to put the stories to the characters that I’ve seen around.”
According to the Shen Yun website, each of the New York-based company’s presentations of music and dance aims to express the core essence of China’s semi-divine culture, and often have a moral or message to teach.
Ms. Cupido appreciated many of the themes and values of the traditional culture, such as karmic retribution—good will be met with good returns and evil will be punished—and said these values were important to spread in society.
“I see that there’s a lot of things tying into the afterlife and bringing good to Earth, or tying in what you do on Earth with the heavens,” she said.
She noted that these themes from Shen Yun speak to some of the common morals and values that everyone shares, no matter what background, such as “doing good on Earth and helping others is going to pay off afterwards.”
Ms. Cupido also noticed these themes in the performances of the soprano, baritone, and tenor soloists through the Chinese lyrics they sang using the bel canto operatic style.
The lyrics, which contain much reflection on the meaning of life, are displayed in both Chinese and English on the backdrop behind the stage.
“I think what it was saying is that you might not know what life holds for you, but just try to do your best while you have your time here and that it will pay off,” she said.
“The singing is really amazing, the music is great.”
The high-tech digital backdrop designs were another feature of Shen Yun that impressed Ms. Cupido.
Acting as an extension of the stage, the backdrop is timed precisely with the dancers and orchestra in many of the pieces to create the illusion that the performers can jump in and out of the screen.
“The screen in the back is really well used, how they’re incorporating the stories with the screen and the stories on stage,” she said, adding that the synchronization was flawless.
“I find all the dancers are very in sync and I’m very impressed by the way they are able to choreograph it and be so rehearsed, so well executed.”
She was awed by the way the classical Chinese dance projected strength and athleticism while maintaining grace and poise.
“I love it, it’s really great. I really enjoy the fact that they’re able to tumble so gracefully, amazing,” she said.
Reporting by Quincy Yu and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.