HAMILTON, Canada—Being a dancer herself, Nichol Waldick was particularly interested in the Shen Yun Performing Arts production she attended at the Hamilton Place Theatre on Saturday afternoon.
Shen Yun portrays China’s traditional culture through both classical Chinese dance—an ancient art form that includes difficult flips, spins, and tumbles—and ethnic and folk dances from the Middle Kingdom’s diverse regions.
“They’re exceptional, they’re really, really good,” Ms. Waldick said of the dancers during the intermission.
Ms. Waldick started dancing ballet and jazz at a local dance studio at the age of 8 and now teaches ballet at a dance school in Brantford, Ontario.
She said 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.”
One of the most memorable pieces for Ms. Waldick was “The Steadfast Lotus,” a story-based dance that depicts the plight of the practitioners of Falun Gong in their peaceful resistance to the modern-day persecution by the Chinese regime.
In the piece, a young girl is left alone after her mother is taken away by police. Although she endures tribulations searching for her mother, her steadfast faith gives her newfound hope.
“That one was very captivating because I got it—the feeling and the emotion to it all and the facial expressions from the little girl,” she said.
“Even a facial expression or an arm and a hand movement can draw an audience in.”
Ms. Waldick also liked the wide range of styles and colours of the costumes.
According to Shen Yun’s website, the New York-based company’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people. They use bright colours to tailor and recreate hundreds of new pieces each season.
“The designers stress harmonic balance and contrast,” the website says. “Their objective is an authentic presentation of the attire that comes from China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, and a consummate stage effect.”
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by a group of leading classical Chinese artists who wished to revive the true traditional culture of China that has been all but lost following decades of communist rule.
“I have learned a lot about the culture,” said Ms. Waldick, adding that it was a welcome change for her to be on the other side of the stage.
“It’s nice to take a step back and watch and not be behind the stage. … I can actually sit back and watch someone else perform this art of dance and performing arts. It’s really nice.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Joan Delaney
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.
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.