TORONTO—Penny Obnowlenny, general manager at one of Canada’s largest department store chains, gathered a group of colleagues and travelled from Barrie to Toronto to take in Shen Yun Performing Arts on Saturday.
The entire audience seemed captivated by the Jan. 25 evening performance at the Sony Centre, said Ms. Obnowlenny, general manager of Sears Canada in Barrie.
“You could hear a pin drop. There was complete silence and everyone’s attention was on the performance, and you could see they were living it—not just watching it—but they were living the feelings of the actors and performers,” she said.
“The performers were phenomenal. You could feel them dancing and it vibrated into the audience.”
Ms. Obnowlenny said she had feelings of excitement and pure joy from the moment the curtain opened.
“It’s like Christmas Day,” she said. “You open it up and you don’t know what to expect. It’s like, ‘wow.’”
She brought her staff to the performance last year and said they enjoyed it so much that she was glad she had the opportunity to bring them again this year.
“They loved it,” she said. “It was really great. Everyone around me really enjoyed it. It was nice to hear the clapping and the ‘ahh’s.’”
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, whose mission is to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, which has virtually been destroyed under decades of suppression by the Chinese communist regime.
Ms. Obnowlenny was surprised to learn that some of the techniques used in many dance styles and physical arts familiar in Western culture—including acrobatics and gymnastics—originate from classical Chinese dance.
“That was a real education piece to learn,” she said.
Ms. Obnowlenny was moved by a dance titled Lotuses in Bloom, which features celestial maidens in a dream-like setting. The fairies glide across the stage holding long silken fans and scattering lotus flowers—a symbol of purity and divine perfection in Eastern culture.
“I loved the beautiful pink fans. The costumes are phenomenal, you can tell there’s been a lot of detail,” she said.
“Both the gentlemen and the girls were just phenomenal. They floated like butterflies on the stage, something I’ve never seen before.”
She also appreciated the live orchestra that accompanied each dance. Shen Yun’s unique orchestra features traditional Chinese instruments leading the melody while a Western orchestra plays the foundation of the scores.
“The music that accompanied it was just beautiful,” she said.
“I think the most beautiful part was the instruments themselves, the solos, and seeing the harmony.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. 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.