OTTAWA, Canada—Member of Provincial Parliament Jack MacLaren and his wife, Janet, have seen the Shen Yun performance at least four times over the past few years. And while there are some parts of the renowned classical Chinese dance production that he is familiar with, he is delighted that he learns something new from the all-new program every year.
“We enjoyed it very much tonight. My wife, Janet, was here with me and it was a wonderful show. We enjoyed the music, the dancing, the beautiful costumes, and it’s different every year. I always learn something new,” Mr. MacLaren said after seeing the show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Jan. 8.
“It’s a bit of an education about Chinese history, which is 5,000 years old. Compared to Canada, we’re a pretty young country, so it’s hard to imagine that many years of history for one country. So there is much to learn, and I learn something every year I come here.”
One aspect that he appreciates every year in fact speaks to the mission of the New York-based performing arts company—to revive and share with the world the authentic traditional culture of China.
The millennia-old cultural heritage, which has been nearly lost following decades of communist rule, is said to be inspired by the divine, as introduced by the masters of ceremony. Indeed, the name Shen Yun means “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”
“That was very well depicted tonight, and I was quite impressed,” Mr. MacLaren said.
Established in 2006 in New York by a group of elite Chinese artists from around the world, Shen Yun now has five equally large companies that tour the globe simultaneously. They grace the stage in over 150 theatres each year to share with audiences the essence of the ancient civilization.
The soul of the Middle Kingdom manifests itself in principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, and respect for the heavens—ideals originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
Mr. MacLaren especially enjoyed the storytelling associated with each dance.
“There is a story with every dance, which is sometimes ancient history, many thousands of years old, sometimes more recent, in the last 10 or 15 years,” he said.
He has a particular connection with the dance stories depicting the peaceful faith and resilience of the practitioners of Falun Gong, who have been the target of a violent campaign of persecution by the atheistic communist regime for the last 17-plus years.
Mr. MacLaren is among the Canadian dignitaries most concerned who have lent strong and vocal support to Falun Gong practitioners in efforts to seek an end to the persecution.
“Some of the tragic stories [are] of Falun Gong history and persecution in China, which I am familiar with, and I am very opposed to that. It’s tragic that the Falun Gong [practitioners] suffer so greatly in China at the hands of their own government. That has to stop,” he said.
Paying tribute to the principles of the traditional Chinese meditation and spiritual discipline, he said that “the pieces very well portray the three values of the Falun Gong, which are Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance, which are three pretty powerful pillars, pretty powerful values.”
“I would say any people in any society could live by [these values], and if they did so, would live very well, and would be very good people.”
Mr. MacLaren also remarked on the phenomenal growth of Shen Yun Performing Arts over the past decade. The company performed for its first audiences at Beacon Theatre in New York City in December 2006. In celebration of its 10th birthday, it introduced its fifth touring company this season—the Shen Yun North America Company—which like the four other touring companies includes some 80 dancers, musicians, singers, emcees, and technical crew.
“Obviously it’s a successful show and people around the world are responding very positively and are very interested to see the show each year it comes around, and see more of it than one troupe could provide,” Mr. MacLaren said.
“And to have five has got to be a wonderful measure of success!”
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has five touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.