VANCOUVER, Canada–In ancient China there was a well-worn saying: “Respect the heavens to know one’s destiny.”
By following cosmic laws, it suggested, one could secure an endlessly bright future. Faith and hope were integral to traditional Chinese culture and divine reverence touched every aspect of life: Scholars meditated before their studies, emperors strove to follow Heaven’s will, and artists aimed to inspire and uplift.
It is this 5,000-year-old semi-divine culture that Shen Yun Performing Arts aims to revive, through classical Chinese music and dance. For audience member Rachel Dykshoorn, who attended the matinee performance at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 23, the experience was a meditation on hope and harmony.
“I felt that there was a value of working together, a value of creating a beautiful experience to inspire hope in everyone around them,” she said of the performers.
“I felt that [they were] working hard to create a dream for a future that we can all achieve.”
This message of hope glimmered throughout, even in the smallest details of the program, said Ms. Dykshoorn, who works as an organizing consultant.
“The smile everybody wore every moment, and the colours were so uplifting and joyful, and the movements of the arms and the dancing created a lifting feeling to your spirits,” she said.
“It was stunning, absolutely beautiful.”
She was also struck by the sense of peace and cohesion between performers.
“I enjoyed watching the synchronization of the [dancers]–they were all on cue and they all worked together and moved fluidly, like water, and smoothly,” she said.
“There was an experience that nobody felt left out. You felt that everybody was important and everybody was a part of the team to make it beautiful.”
One of these group dances, “Fairies of the Sea,” features delicate fairy maidens, who in Chinese folklore were said to be only visible to the “pure of heart.” The dancers appear to glide on the surface of the sea, moving in unison with long silk fans and soft blue skirts, evoking rippling waves.
“All of the [dancers] work together and just move as one,” said Ms. Dykshoorn. “But then it breaks apart and there’s colours everywhere that just inspire you. It was absolutely wonderful.”
The unique colour combinations of the costumes and digital scenery also caught her eye.
“I enjoyed the fact that there were everything from blues to peaches and everything just contrasting so that you could see it from close up or far away,” she said.
“There’s traditional colours mixed in with more modern Western colours to invite everybody into the experience.
Ms. Dykshoorn said that Shen Yun’s mission to revive traditional culture was critical in order to preserve precious wisdom and guidance from one of the world’s oldest civilizations.
“It’s very important because our history tells us where to go in our future,” she said.
“So when we learn to look back we can learn to look forward with wisdom and clarity.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The company that performed in Vancouver was World Company. 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.