VANCOUVER—Doing what it does best, Shen Yun Performing Arts brought China’s cultural heritage to life onstage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 18, enchanting the audience with its all-new 2015 production.
Sophie Austin and Katie Fink, both registered nurses, attended the matinee performance and were delighted with Shen Yun’s portrayal of the Middle Kingdom’s divinely inspired culture through music and dance.
“It was amazing. It’s my first time seeing it. I wanted to see it for years and I’m so glad that we were able to make it today,” said Ms. Fink.
“It was wonderful, we enjoyed it so much,” added Ms. Austin. “The strength and the grace of the dancers, both the women and the men, was incredible and it was an awesome educational experience. We want to learn more about Chinese culture now.”
Ms. Austin added that “seeing the different costumes of the different regions and the different sub-ethnic groups” in the performance piqued her interest.
Having been a dancer herself, Ms. Fink appreciated the high calibre of the Shen Yun dancers. The centrepiece of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, but it also presents ethnic and folk dance from China’s various regions.
“It was superb. You’re looking at the amount of training that must just go into what they’re doing there. You feel like they should be training from when they’re 5 and don’t stop. You don’t get to do that by starting later so you know they’ve devoted most of their lives to doing this and it’s just incredible,” she said.
“You can see the grace that’s involved in it. They make it look effortless, but having done martial arts and dance I know how much goes into that.”
Shen Yun’s groundbreaking animated backdrop also came in for praise.
“I thought they were incorporated very well. I really enjoyed that they helped tell the story, and somehow the dancers managing to pop onstage was so coordinated with their corresponding figures in the backdrop,” said Ms. Austin.
“Very good timing, and it was really nice—all the little stories, all throughout.”
She was also thrilled with the erhu piece “All for Today” by Lu Sun.
“To hear the erhu, that was lovely. I had no idea that it was only two strings that were involved in the instrument, and the amount of emotional range that she evoked from that instrument was incredible,” she said.
According to the Shen Yun website, the erhu—which is also known as the Chinese violin but is played vertically—is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Although it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions.
Another standout of the show for Ms. Fink were the two sopranos.
“Wow! I think “wow” covers it. Both were unique from each other, which I liked that they weren’t the same,” she said.
“There was a young voice and there was a more mature voice,” said Ms. Austin, adding that she especially enjoyed “For You I Sing” by Min Jiang.
“I loved the second soprano; she had such a command of her voice, so beautiful, the timbre was beautiful and such strength in her voice, too.”
The Jan. 18 matinee performance was Shen Yun’s final of a four-show run in Vancouver. The group will next play six shows at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto from Jan. 22-25.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.