Shen Yun Performing Arts continues its tour of Eastern Canada, playing to packed houses eager to witness the New York-based group’s unique and expansive take on Chinese culture.
As the world’s foremost classical Chinese dance company, Shen Yun has been bringing authentic Chinese culture to audiences around the world since 2006, captivating the hearts and minds of theatregoers who are often amazed at the technical skill of the performers and the sheer magnitude of the production.
After playing in Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo this week, Shen Yun will continue on to Mississauga and then Toronto and Vancouver.
Trisha Romance, one of Canada’s most successful painters who has won the Canadian Artist of the Year award four times, was enchanted by the performance she took in at Hamilton Place Theatre on Jan. 12.
“It was true art and true artistry because it had colour, it had form, it had, of course, amazing storytelling, and awe. It had the power to awe. That is great artistry—art at its best,” said Ms. Romance.
“It was just amazing all the way through,” she added. “It gave me a deeper sense of Chinese culture.”
Ms. Romance’s daughter singer/songwriter Whitney Peterson, who goes by the stage name Whitney Pea, was also wowed by the show.
“It was beautiful, very dynamic, and just stunning,” said Ms. Peterson, adding that she was touched by the performance of tenor Tian Ge, saying his voice had an “unforgettable tone.”
“It had a lot of texture to it, and a lot of emotion. It was very deep and it seemed like it resonated from his entire being,” she said.
She also praised soprano Guang Ling, whose femininity offered the perfect “counterbalance” to the tenor’s masculinity, she said.
“Her [performance] was very feminine and beautiful and was very much suited to the song, what she was saying in the song, and the setting,” she said. “It was lovely.”
The operatic performances sung in bel canto style with Chinese lyrics require arduous training and have been mastered by few in the world, according to the Shen Yun website.
‘It’s just so creative’
Art critics Danny Gaisin and his wife, Terry, who both write for the Ontario Arts Review, were at the Jan. 11 evening performance for their second time—having seen the show in Toronto in 2008.
“I love all the dancing and the singing, and the music is just beautiful,” said Mrs. Gaisin. “It’s just so creative and they look like they’re having a good time.”
“It is spectacular,” added Mr. Gaisin, who was also a columnist with Oakville Today and publisher/reviewer for Halton Arts Review.
New York-based Shen Yun takes stories and legends from China’s 5,000-year history and presents it to audiences through music and dance—both ethnic and folk dances as well as classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form that is being revived by Shen Yun.
Mr. Gaisin was blown away by the prowess of the dancers.
“To be able to be so synchronized, to be able to follow such choreography, to be so intense—what they do has to require focus and extreme discipline,” he said.
Dance teacher Nichol Waldick was similarly impressed. Ms. Waldick teaches ballet at a dance studio in Brantford, Ontario.
“They’re exceptional, they’re really, really good,” Ms. Waldick said, adding that she especially enjoyed the strength and athleticism of Shen Yun’s male dancers.
“They are strong, they are flexible, and the jumps, the bounds—it is amazing, amazing.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.