CALGARY, Canada—Susan Mensinger, artistic director of Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, put on a performance at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on March 9. Two days later, she was back—this time as a first time theatergoer seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The only critique, Ms. Mensinger said, was “they almost closed the curtains too soon,” and the audience wanted more time to stand up and applaud their artists and show appreciation for their hard work.
“I thought the show was fabulous. Like, fabulous. I absolutely appreciate the amount of rehearsal and the amount of dedication to do what they’re doing,” said Ms. Mensinger, who has spent her whole career dancing and teaching dance, with 40 years under the Artistique Dance Academy in Calgary.
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, and impressed Ms. Mensinger in its every aspect.
“And the beauty of it, of course, for me being a dance teacher, [is] how together they were,” she said. “That doesn’t just come. It takes from hours and hours and hours of rehearsal.”
“I think the other thing that I noticed is how the orchestra and how the dancers, the performers, just exuded the orchestration of it. When the orchestra got bigger, their movement got bigger, their energy got bigger,” she said.
“The costumes, of course, were amazing. I mean, anybody sees that with their eye, the color coordination of it all. And the screens were, like, amazing. Like, the interactive screens. That was amazing. It’s the amount of work that goes through to make that, and the costume changes, the hair changes, like, stuff that maybe a normal eye would not notice—and how quickly they did it and how professionally they did it,” she said.
“There wasn’t one hair that fell out. There wasn’t one costume piece that fell off. You know, the blocking was immaculate. They weren’t looking to see, you know, where they were supposed to be on the stage. They just knew where they were supposed to be.”
Ms. Mensinger noted the incorporation of historical dress as difficult props used in the dances: “Manchurian Ethnic Dance” where the ladies of the Manchurian court wore “flower pot shoes,” high shoes with a block in the center of the shoe, and “The Ladies’ Dance: Water in the Balance,” where the female dancers balanced porcelain jars on their heads in the piece.
“How difficult that is,” she said. “And then I was just explaining to my mom the one number and the blocks on their feet. And how hard that would be to balance on a block on your foot.”
“That is really difficult to do. And I don’t know whether or not people who don’t understand dance would understand how difficult that is. And the men, just how athletic they are, how high they jump,” she said. “they almost look like they have roller skates on their feet … how did they get around so fast?”
“The rating of the show—it’s fabulous,” Ms. Mensinger said.
Learning About China’s 5,000-Year-Old History Through Shen Yun Was ‘Incredible’: Business Coach
Greg Lingelbach, executive business coach, was pleasantly surprised by Shen Yun’s portrayal of China’s 5,000 year old culture saying that its history is “something incredible.”
“The beauty, the culture, the art—it’s a beautiful culture,” Mr. Lingelbach said after watching Shen Yun at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on March 11.
“And to see them around the world with eight troupes is pretty amazing.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s 5,000-year-old culture, using the medium of music and dance to showcase the best of China’s traditional values and history, myths and legends. However, the ancient culture of China was almost lost under communism, where traditional culture was seen as a threat to communist rule.
Through campaigns such as the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party systematically uprooted traditional beliefs and destroyed ancient treasures, bringing 5,000 years of civilization to the brink of extinction.
Mr. Lingelbach resonated with Shen Yun’s mission.
“I mean they want to educate the rest of the world, and that’s why the troupes I think they are going around the world and they’re having impact,” he said.
Through a series of vignettes, the New York based performing arts company depicts ancient China through to modern times. These vignettes are accompanied by an orchestral arrangement that blends eastern and western instruments, an animated backdrop, and performances by world-class soloists.
But what captivated Mr. Lingelbach and his wife Joan were the spiritual aspects of China’s traditional culture.
“Even though we’re so vast in terms of our culture, we all share the same belief that there is a higher being who is there for us, and we need Him,” Mrs. Lingelbach said.
In reference to the Creator, who is mentioned in the soprano’s performance, Mrs. Lingelbach said that this piece had particular significance given their faith in Christianity.
“The Creator coming down to the earth and saving us, I mean we’re Christians so it has a lot of meaning for us, it’s part of our belief,” Mrs. Lingelbach said.
“And it’s believing that the Creator created everything, and everything is beautiful because of it, and this is just a piece of that—when you look back that many thousands of years and what it brought to our earth,” Mr. Lingelbach said.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.