TORONTO—For personal trainers Jackel Wai and Alexandra Mo, seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Four Seasons Centre on Feb. 28 was an inspirational evening, giving them deeper insight and appreciation for their Chinese heritage.
“It is like the Rolls Royce of Chinese performance,” said Mr. Wai, a Toronto-based fitness professional.
The five companies that make up Shen Yun, a New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company, are currently touring the globe; the Shen Yun World Company is playing the four-show Toronto run.
“Their training is awesome. I can tell that it took many, many years to train,” noted Mr. Wai.
“One by one, when you look at it, everybody is all in sequence. There is not one slower or one faster. It’s pretty perfect.”
Ms. Mo agreed.
“I think the first thing is that it is beautiful. Everything is so detailed. We can see that there is a lot of work that everybody puts into it. Not only from everybody on stage, but also backstage. Sound, lighting, directing, everything,” she said.
“I could also see that [the performers] put a lot of hard work into training every single day to make everything so perfect. Everything is so symmetrical, everybody is giving their best. And I really enjoyed the dynamic [backdrop], how it matches the performance. Also with the orchestra, everything matching together. It’s excellent.”
Through performances of classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, Shen Yun presents glimpses of China’s history, classic stories, and myths and legends, as well as present-day heroic tales.
Ms. Mo said she grew up watching various adaptations of the classical Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” and was happy to see Shen Yun present an episode onstage.
“I was born in South America, so I am not really familiar with the Chinese culture, so for me it’s very important and beneficial to come here. … I think it’s quite mind-opening to see all the different stories,” she said.
Mr. Wai, who was born in Macao, said he was relatively familiar with Chinese culture, but said Shen Yun helped break through the superficial layer. “It’s deeper now,” he said of his understanding of the culture.
He said he also got some inspiration for his own work, particularly from the dance “Handkerchiefs in Flight.”
“I never noticed that you can do such tricks with a handkerchief. Maybe we will incorporate that into our fitness programs for our clients,” he said.
“It’s pretty hard to do and I need to do some practice before I show it to the client. I may have to talk to one of the performers later on to learn the tricks.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has five touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.