Shen Yun is ‘Spiritually Refreshing,’ Says Renowned Canadian Illustrator

January 17, 2014

KITCHENER-WATERLOO—Enjoying a late Christmas present, renowned conceptual illustrator and artist Nick Craine brought his family to Shen Yun Performing Arts at Centre in the Square on Wednesday night.

A resident of Guelph, Mr. Craine’s illustrations have graced book covers, magazines and comics around the world. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Republic, and in 2008 he has been included in Illustration Now, an anthology sampling 150 of the world’s best illustrators.

From the handmade costumes to the digital backdrop, Shen Yun has been described as a feast for the eyes. As a graphic artist, Mr. Craine was quick to comment on its visual appeal.

“I love the movement, and the colour,” he said of the performance. “It’s like drinking water—it’s like drinking refreshments for your eyes.”

“It cools the spirit,” said his mother Sylvia.

“It’s refreshing, spiritually refreshing” he added.

The world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, Shen Yun been known for its visually stunning productions with colour and patterns used extensively to give audiences a taste of traditional Chinese culture, believed to have been divinely inspired.

Shen Yun also incorporates a digital backdrop displayed behind the dancers that portrays ancient Chinese landscapes and scenery representative of China’s many dynasties. The backdrop gives context to the dances and also interacts with the performers, adding a unique dimension to the stories.

“It’s very well-integrated, beautifully integrated,” said Mr. Craine.

Classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world and its techniques are also one of the most difficult to execute. Shen Yun’s dancers are extensively trained in this rigorous discipline and their efforts become apparent on stage in their ability to move in unison and harmony, even as part of a large ensemble.

“They are actually so perfect,” said Mr. Craine. “Everyone is so synchronized.”

Reporting by Allen Zhou and Ryan Moffatt

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will continue on to Mississauga for five performances starting on Thursday. 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.