MONTREAL, Canada—Songwriter Guy Desnoyers and his sister Lucette Desnoyers, a former dancer, had the good fortune of sitting in the third row, close to the orchestra pit, at the Shen Yun Performing Arts show at Place des Arts on Wednesday night.
They chose seats among the best to enjoy the renowned classical Chinese dance and music production.
“It was like a dream, a dream come true,” said Mr. Desnoyers, who was greatly moved by the presentation.
“I just give them a big hand,” he added, commending all those who are part of the New York-based performing arts company.
As a composer, Mr. Desnoyers took note of the original music. The Shen Yun Orchestra portrays the essence of Western and Eastern classical music in a unified theme, with Chinese instruments playing the melody and Western wind and string instruments serving as accompaniment. In addition, there are Shen Yun’s virtuoso tenors and sopranos, who use the bel canto operatic technique to sing Chinese lyrics.
“What I relate to is the musicality, the melody,” Mr. Desnoyers said, noting that “it was so rich musically speaking.”
He was also deeply impressed by the intricate handmade costumes and skillful presentation of dance, with an abundance of energy and athleticism that makes the difficult movements of classical Chinese dance look easy, such as jumping and tumbling techniques as well as spins and flips.
“It was really a pleasure for the eyes,” he said. He praised the dancers for “the discipline that they must have.”
“From an artistic point of view—to see so many colours, so many nice faces, so much grace in the artists—it was not only a physical experience because they move with their bodies, but also a kind of spiritual experience,” Mr. Desnoyers noted.
His comments spoke to the mission of Shen Yun—to revive the 5,000 years of authentic traditional Chinese culture that has been all but lost under decades of communist rule.
The heart and soul of this ancient culture can be found in principles such as compassion, justice, and respect for the heavens, as explained on the Shen Yun website.
The Shen Yun performers look toward the divine for inspiration, and this spiritual connection is the heart behind their every movement and note, as they seek to present art that is meant to uplift and bring joy.
Through the show, “they also spread this mentality, this spirit, all over the world,” Mr. Desnoyers said. “I think it’s a gift, as a person of humanity, to be able to see what people like the Chinese people can do and what it can offer to the rest of the world,”
“I thought it was a very generous show, very human, and it makes me think that when one person has goodwill, it can spread to other people and have a domino effect on other,” he added.
His sister echoed this sentiment. “It’s a message of hope,” said Ms. Desnoyers, a former dancer in the jazz, ballet, and modern styles who performed in her youth and counts Walt Disney Productions among her professional experiences.
“Being an ex-dancer, I know all the work,” she said. “When I was their age, I was performing. I know how hard it is.”
Shen Yun features mainly classical Chinese dance, portraying the myths and legends from ancient China along with heroic tales throughout the Middle Kingdom’s long history. The show is also rounded out by presentations of ethnic and folk dances representing China’s many dynasties and regions.
Ms. Desnoyers expressed particular appreciation for the story-based dances that depict the plight of the practitioners of Falun Gong in their peaceful resistance to the modern-day persecution by the Chinese regime.
“I think it’s very courageous, this presentation,” she said. “Through art, to be able to present that with all the magnitude … it was just breathtaking.”
Mr. Desnoyers will absolutely recommend Shen Yun to his friends, he said. And “it gives me the taste to come for next year,” he added.
Reporting by Zhen Xiuxin, Nathalie Dieul, and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will perform in Montreal until Jan. 9 before going on to Hamilton. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.