VANCOUVER—Gemologist Salam Jiwa and his wife, linguist Azila Jiwa, discovered a treasure at Shen Yun’s packed house at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday night.
“This gave us 5,000 years of culture encapsulated in two-and-a-half hours,” said Mr. Jiwa. “The dance, the colour, the costumes, the elegance, the music—everything.”
Mr. Jiwa explained why he connected so deeply to Shen Yun. “Both of us were born in Kenya, but our ancestry is in India, another very old civilization,” he said. “This (performance) is reaching out and building the bridge to new civilizations and new cultures.”
“I loved it. It was beautiful,” added Mrs. Jiwa. “A really awesome way of spending the evening.”
Her husband had taken a mental note and surprised her with tickets after she had mentioned her strong desire to go.
As beautiful as the performance was, it was also a learning experience for Mrs. Jiwa. “I was sad that Chinese in China cannot watch this,” she said.
According to the Shen Yun website, “Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditional culture has been nearly lost. Yet Shen Yun—a non-profit organization—has become an international phenomenon, bringing the wonders of ancient Chinese culture to millions across the globe.”
Mr. Jiwa appreciated the ancient values present in Shen Yun. “I think it’s just brilliant, very touching,” he said. “It touched the emotions. I’m a religious kind of guy. I love culture.”
He also related to the symbolism and themes of good and evil, struggle and redemption embedded in the dance.
“The way it was put across was genius. The red flowers blossoming to the yellow flowers. I thought it was genius. It was a perfect statement, a wonderful statement.”
“On a scale of one to ten–eleven,” he said.
With reporting by Ryan Moffatt and J.H. White