VANCOUVER, Canada—Shen Yun Performing Arts staged the first of four shows at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Friday night, earning a standing ovation from the audience that came out for a display of classical Chinese dance.
“It was fabulous,” said Daniella, a graphic designer who did not share her last name.
“We loved it. It was a great education for us. I just know this much about China. It was super interesting. I really loved it.”
Shen Yun, which is based in New York, takes as its mission to revive the essence of traditional Chinese performing arts. Its large-scale performances include classical Chinese dance as well as ethnic and folk dances from China’s diverse regions and ethnicities.
“I didn’t know anything about the Chinese culture, so I am very appreciative about everything. I really didn’t know a lot,” added Daniella.
Shen Yun draws inspiration from 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, basing many of its dances on stories from classic novels and ancient legends. The dancers are accompanied by an orchestra that includes classical Chinese instruments and each dance is set in a living scene with the help of the show’s innovative animated backdrops.
“I really like this,” Daniella said of the backdrops.
She said she especially enjoyed the artistry of Shen Yun.
“I was impressed by the colours and everything,” she said.
“The dancing and the acrobatic movements, I really like that acrobatic movement … I am very fascinated by that.”
The jumps and flips that people associate with acrobatics actually originate from classical Chinese dance, explained the show’s two hosts that evening. These movements, which were later borrowed and incorporated into gymnastics and other art forms, are among the most challenging in classical Chinese dance.
Reporting by Fany Qiu and Matthew Little.
Shen Yun will stage three more shows in Vancouver over the weekend before continuing on into the United States. Shen Yun has three equally large companies touring the world this year. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org .