MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of ancient China’s glorious ancient culture—and the spirituality inherent in it—struck a deep chord with Sonia Durston. She attended Shen Yun’s opening night at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre on April 26 and experienced a performance that went way beyond her expectations.
“Oh my goodness, they were so awe-inspiring, it brings God right into your heart. And as soon as I saw the dancing and all of the beauty that God gives us, it’s in this whole production, I loved it,” said Ms. Durston, owner of a laboratory design company in Mississauga.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts. The New York-based company uses classical Chinese dance to tell stories from classic literature and ancient myths that embody traditional values. According to its website, principles from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism such as compassion, propriety, and respect for the divine are the essence of the 5,000-year-old culture.
“I felt awe-inspired, I felt rich [upon seeing the performance],” Ms. Durston said.
“I know how difficult it is in this world that is getting very dark, and this brings all the bright light into my heart, and if it does it to other people then I know there is a god that is helping us to get through the darkness.”
She added that the performers “are doing the best job ever,” noting that the production “is something that was totally needed.”
‘It’s giving me things to think about’
Sylvana Canderan, a wellness and vitality coordinator at a retirement home, was also deeply moved by the performance. She especially enjoyed the lyrics of the songs by the vocal soloists, who sing in the bel canto style of operatic singing.
“It actually may touch your heart because really where you come from is where you want to go home, and your home is in Heaven. It also told you how to come back and try to make the best of life,” she said.
“It was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.”
Ms. Canderan appreciated the traditional values in ancient Chinese culture as portrayed by Shen Yun.
“I think a lot of people, especially nowadays, including myself, we’re so busy. Working, making a living, looking after our parents—we forget ourselves, we find ourselves lost. It’s time we find ourselves—that’s what that show told me tonight,” she said, adding that she was touched by every aspect of the performance.
“Bad times and good times are all around us, good and evil is all around us. It’s how we take it. [The performance] encourages you to make you feel better, to overcome that,” she said.
“It’s giving me things to think about, a meaning of life.”
‘It’s a good feeling’
Shen Yun’s performance takes the divine as inspiration. Art, dance, and music are meant to uplift and bring joy to those who create it and experience it.
Satish Gandhi, a mechanical engineering professor at Humber College, could relate to the spiritual aspect in the performance, as in his own religion the Buddha is an important figure. He attended Shen Yun with his wife, Ratma.
“We have seen that in movies and now I had a chance to see it in person,” Mr. Gandhi said about the depiction of Buddhas. “It’s a good feeling.”
Mrs. Gandhi also got that good feeling. “When I see that they were … doing meditation, and their wishes come true, it was very nice,” she said.
The couple doesn’t usually attend shows but a friend persuaded them to come.
“It’s exceptionally good. Out of this world,” Mr. Gandhi said. The costumes, dancing, and Chinese culture thoroughly impressed him.
His wife loved the vivid colours.
“Even if you’re sad when you see this, you feel so cheerful and happy [after],” she said. “I will definitely come and see it next time. Absolutely.”
Reporting by Dongyu Teng and Joan Delaney
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.