TORONTO—Shen Yun Performing Arts brought traditional Chinese culture back to the Canon Theatre Friday evening for the first of four shows this Mother’s Day weekend at the elegant historic venue.
“I thought the show was terrific. I thought the show was very colourful. It was graceful. It was eye candy,” said Rochelle Wilner, an award-winning human rights advocate with a distinguished record of community service.
“I was struck by [the dancers’] grace, their agility,” she added.
Among Ms. Wilner’s long list of former titles are President, B’nai Brith Canada; National Chair, Institute for International Affairs; National Chair, League for Human Rights; and Senior Vice-President & Chair of the Board, Canadian Coalition for Democracies. She is also a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
She said the entire show and the brightness of it kept her captivated.
“This wasn’t just entertaining, but entertaining with meaning. So much of what they did was based on their own history, their own ethnic issues, and having that performed to dance and music, I thought was really fabulous.”
New York-based Shen Yun features performances in classical Chinese dance as well as vocal soloists accompanied by a live orchestra that melds traditional western and Chinese instruments. Animated digital backdrops and detailed colourful costumes are a part of every performance.
“It was just a feel-good show,” said Ms. Wilner. “I thought [the dancers] were absolutely fabulous. They were graceful … just in total control. It was really nice to see.”
According to the Shen Yun website, the company seeks to present “the true, five-millennia-old artistic tradition of China” and “breathe new life into traditional Chinese culture while providing audiences everywhere with an experience of sublime beauty.”
“Folklore was so important to [the Chinese] historically,” said Ms. Wilner. “So bringing that out in dance as opposed to just reading stories—it was a nice way to share their culture.”
Ms. Wilner also commented that the costumes were “fabulous,” and that she enjoyed watching the performers’ coordination, timing and balance. “Just the way they move. These dancers are so graceful; they were wearing costumes that moved with them.”
Shen Yun will perform three more shows at the Canon Theatre: two on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.shenyunperformingarts.org.