MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of ancient Chinese culture at the Living Arts Centre on April 28 left retired couple Bob and Helen Goldstone with a decidedly positive feeling.
Mrs. Goldstone said the performance left her feeling uplifted, and her husband agreed.
“I would say that it gives me hope for humanity after all, and a group like this who tours around the world—and I understand there are four of these identical groups touring—is very appropriate, and so many people around the world can learn from these programs,” Mr. Goldstone said after the show.
“[People would learn] that with cooperation there is a resulting peace—peace of mind, peace in the world. Now that’s a bit of a stretch, but nonetheless it demonstrates what can be done and the approach that can be used to have more peace in people’s lives and in civilizations.”
Shen Yun was founded on a mission to bring about a renaissance of China’s 5,000-year-old divinely inspired culture. The New York-based company does that through dances portraying tales of heroic Chinese figures and stories from beloved literary classics. And not just any dance—classical Chinese dance, which is very athletic with leaps, tumbles, and spins—but also graceful.
“What I really liked was the dance—the variety, the scope. The costumes were fantastic,” Mr. Goldstone said.
“It was very expressive, colourful, and got right to the point. We could follow it fairly easily. All the stories were great.”
“I thought the whole thing was really spectacular,” Mrs. Goldstone. “I was impressed with the acrobatics especially—the flexibility of people, being able to do things like that.”
They both also enjoyed the erhu solo. The erhu is a two-stringed instrument with a history going back thousands of years. It can convey a wide range of emotions, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“I thought that instrument was just beautiful. Never heard anything quite like that before,” Mrs. Goldstone said.
“To get that much out of two strings, it was very good. And it did remind me of the human voice. Fantastic,” Mr. Goldstone said.
‘The good guys win’
Principles originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, are the essence of traditional Chinese culture, according to Shen Yun. Such virtues are portrayed in the show through the story-dances and the lyrics of the songs.
David Prior, who attended with his wife, Christine, commented on this aspect of the performance.
“The bad guys and the good guys—the good guys win,” he said.
“If it’s something you believe in—if you really believe in the truth, it will overcome. No matter what enemies you have, and persecution, truth will win, will come out first.”
“I liked the stories—good stories,” he added.
“The stories are great and the way they tell them is excellent,” said Mrs. Prior, a medical transcriber.
“The costumes are beautiful, the colours, and I love the dancing,” she added. The last one before the intermission, “Drums of the Grasslands” left a lasting impression on her.
“It is very exciting and colourful. The dancing, the acrobatics—very good,” said Mr. Prior. “And the music—the orchestra is really good. I love the music.”
“It’s very enjoyable, a lot of fun,” said Mrs. Prior.
Reporting by Dongyu Teng, Matthew Little, 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.