MISSISSAUGA, Canada—In an era of fast-paced technology and busyness, sometimes one needs to step aside and reflect on one’s life.
In ancient China, people in all different professions used to sit in meditation—they would calm their mind and cultivate their character.
In today’s communist China, spiritual practices have been criticized as superstitious, their practitioners persecuted and killed, and the traditional Chinese culture nourished through 5,000 years of history has come to the brink of extinction.
Yet in 2006, a group of overseas Chinese artists established Shen Yun Performing Arts, now a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company, with the mission of reviving China’s divinely inspired civilization and the many virtues it encompassed. For the past 10 years, the New York-based group has shared this culture with millions of audience members around the world.
On April 26, Shen Yun’s International Company—one of Shen Yun’s four equally large companies—began its four-show run at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre.
In the audience was Chinese-Canadian Edward Wong, executive vice president for Zanchin Automotive Group, one of the largest auto companies in Ontario.
Having spent the past 37 years in Canada, Mr. Wong recalls memories with his grandmother who told him about the traditional culture lost in China today.
“This is definitely bringing back a lot of great tradition—thousands of years of tradition,” he said.
“It’s a wonderful performance.”
Mr. Wong said that watching Shen Yun, he felt proud to be Chinese.
Also in the audience was Asher Shahzad, a Mississauga-based insurance broker, who was surprised to see how diverse China is—comprised of a wide variety of ethnic and folk traditions.
“It opens a door for us and now we’re going to explore what this culture is,” said Mr. Shahzad.
His companion, Nicole Ruel, agreed.
“They are very passionate in the way they express their history. It’s very interesting,” she said.
“Everything is beautiful.”
Mr. Shahzad was particularly impressed by the colours presented in the different performances.
“I’m an artist myself so I understand what the colour means. So every colour is quite meaningful—red, orange, blue, yellow. They had a lot of expression,” he said.
Shen Yun uses performances of classical Chinese dance, as well as folk and ethnic dance to express China’s rich history.
These dance forms were completely new to engineers Carolina Castillo and Alberto Gracia. It was something that fascinated them, particularly how the Shen Yun artists enhance the performances.
“They use not only dance—they use all these themes. They use all the colours, they use the fans to express the dance. That was really beautiful,” said Ms. Castillo who noticed the themes of spirituality, hope, and goodness reflected in the performance.
The richness of the culture particularly stood out to 12-year old Dhivya Umasuthan who came to see the performance with her mother. In addition to a wish to explore more of the Chinese culture, Dhivya left with one important lesson of wisdom, inspired from “Journey to the West” the story of the Monkey King’s encounter with the Dragon King.
“As you go through life—as you get older and older, even if you’re older and wiser as people say—don’t underestimate people who are lower than you or smaller than you,” she said.
Reporting by Dongyu Teng and Madalina Hubert
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.