TORONTO—Robin Kay, a giant in Canada’s fashion scene, was both intrigued and impressed by the striking costumes in Shen Yun Performing Arts, which played the first of five shows at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on April 21.
“I absolutely loved the show, everything went right to my heart,” Ms. Kay said of Shen Yun’s presentation of classical Chinese dance and music.
“I’m from the world of fashion. The colour combinations were very surprising and ethereal—very beautiful combinations of colour—turquoise and orange, shades of light blue,” she said.
Ms. Kay is a former designer, had a string of stores with her name on them, and has turned Toronto Fashion Week into a major event during her decade at the helm of the Fashion Design Council of Canada.
Shen Yun features over 100 handmade costumes in a wide array of colours, displaying a spectacle from different time periods or settings in China. In creating the costumes, Shen Yun’s costume artists “collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people,” explains the Shen Yun website.
“Every detail is given meticulous attention and is a result of artistic inspiration and careful polishing,” the website says.
Ms. Kay said the utilization of the elements of colour, dance, and sound in Shen Yun are all “very good for the soul.”
“The music was incredible, felt very Eastern and magical,” she said, referring to Shen Yun’s orchestra which uses both classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments.
“I’m so happy I came…Tonight, I’m going to have big dreams.”
Shen Yun’s mission in presenting its performances all over the world is to revive China’s divinely inspired culture. The performance is rich with values and principles from the Middle Kingdom’s age-old culture. But that culture has been greatly suppressed after decades of communist rule.
“Shen Yun is representing a lot more than what I saw tonight,” said Ms. Kay. She said it was “terribly painful” that such a beautiful show is not allowed to be seen in its own country.
But there is a message of hope in Shen Yun, she said.
“I’m very optimistic. I’m sure it’s very challenging; it’s good to see people work so hard sharing this.”
Noting that everyone needs to see Shen Yun, Ms. Kay added that the New York-based performing arts company is “really special.”
‘It is just magical’
Kenney Nickerson, who accompanied Ms. Kay to Shen Yun, said he was delighted with the performance.
“It is such a high degree of perfection, it’s wonderful,” said Mr. Nickerson, an architect.
“Just the colours, the costumes. The effect of the backdrop was such a delight—just the magic of the people coming out of the sky,” he added, referring to Shen Yun’s signature animated backdrop that interacts with the dances onstage.
“It was really beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Like Ms. Kay, Mr. Nickerson was blown away by the costumes, noting all the detailed design and hard work involved in creating them.
“Just seeing them in detail, the sparkles in the skirts and the shaded colours, the colour mix, the flow of the chorus, the scarves—I mean it is just magical.”
With all the effects and props, Shen Yun brings ancient China’s stories and the values inherent in them to life onstage, he said.
“I think the values are very high, very moral stories,” he said.
“I thought it was very positive and life-affirming.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Omid Ghoreishi, and Rahul Vaidyanath
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company is currently touring Eastern Canada. 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.