Shen Yun is a ‘Living Painting,’ Says Classical Painter

January 10, 2014

MONTREAL, Canada—”I believe the Shen Yun performance is a living painting.”

That is how Richard Dorais, a classical painter, described the Shen Yun Performing Arts performance he attended at Place des Arts in Montreal on Jan. 9.

“It is bringing to us the great traditions of the painters of all the eras. It’s a renaissance, but it’s coming through China … bringing back the gift that we have lost.”

Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed by a group of leading classical Chinese artists with a mission to revive China’s traditional culture. According to Shen Yun’s website, the essence of the Middle Kingdom’s age-old culture was virtually destroyed by various campaigns initiated by the Chinese Communist Party, most notably the Cultural Revolution.

“For 5,000 years divine culture flourished in the land of China. Humanity’s treasure was nearly lost, but through breathtaking music and dance, Shen Yun is bringing back this glorious culture,” the website says. 

Since the company is independent of the Chinese regime, it can freely bring China’s ancient culture and traditions to stages around the world.

Through Shen Yun, “it seems that a tradition that was being lost is coming back to the world today,” said Mr. Dorais. 

“It’s a living painting with the light, the colour, and the special effects. And we see that matter is yet again called to serve the spirit, and not the other way around.”

Shen Yun performances feature award-winning classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra that combines traditional Chinese instruments with a classical Western orchestra, groundbreaking animated backdrops that interact with the story-based dances, and hundreds of colourful handmade costumes. 

Pointing to the movements and the composition of the dances and the integration of the props, Mr. Dorais said the combination of various aspects of the performance add to the beauty of the scenes created. 

“The drawings are very beautiful. The drawings, the lines, the movements, the compositions of the lines, the perspectives with the backdrop, and the interaction of the special effects [through the backdrop]—all this, adds to the space,” he said.

According to an extensive page on Shen Yun’s website about art and spirituality, “Throughout history almost every culture looked toward the divine for inspiration. Art was meant to uplift, bringing joy to both the people who created and experienced it. It is this principle that drives Shen Yun performers and their art.”

Mr. Dorais said he observed this theme in the show. 

“I think the show puts us in connection with the divine … we can enter into a relationship with something much bigger than us, which is not so far from us.”

“It’s a divine spirit that is very open and very accessible to us.”

With reporting by NTD Television

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company finished its Montreal performances on Thursday and will now go on to Hamilton, Ontario. For more information, visit

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.

Montreal, Canada
Shen Yun World Company