Shen Yun: ‘Dancing as one’

January 3, 2014 Updated: January 5, 2014

OTTAWA—After attending the opening night of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the National Arts Centre, Greg Stewart, owner of Pathway Hyundai, felt he had a better understanding of Chinese culture.

He also learned more about its suppression over the last 60 years by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Established by a group of overseas Chinese artists, New York-based Shen Yun aims to revive a dance tradition that has been effectively gutted in its homeland.

Mr. Stewart said he found two dances in particular to be “fabulous and beautiful.” Those dances were Mongolian Chopsticks and Lotuses in Bloom.

“The effort that they all had to put in to get everything so synchronized—I was really amazed. In these two hours I never saw anyone stumble once, which is unique. It was almost as if they were one, dancing as one.”

Shen Yun Performing Arts performs classical Chinese dance that has been passed down and developed through the long course of China’s history. Classical Chinese dance is very expressive and the leaps and aerial tumbling require a high degree of athleticism.

According to the Shen Yun website, “Classical Chinese dance is grounded in 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, and is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics. Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power.”

Stewart went on to explain why the dancing was so impressive. “There wasn’t a word spoken, yet there was so much I could understand from the stories.”

In addition to integrating the animated backdrop with the dances, Shen Yun uses the backdrop to showcase the meaningful lyrics sung by the vocal artists.

Stewart said that he was inspired by those words.

“I thought that the stories that the singers were telling came right from the heart. I felt what they were saying. I felt some pain in the words. ‘Listen to us, and we’re going to succeed, and break out into the modern world,’ like in that last scene.”

The last scene Stewart referred to is part of a piece called Buddha’s Compassion Shines Forth in which a young couple is beaten for practising their faith (Falun Dafa) in the park. Lord Buddha appears and brings peace out of chaos.

Reporting by NTD Television and Pam McLennan.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company will present three more performances in Ottawa until Jan. 4 before moving on to Montreal on Jan. 6. 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.