VANCOUVER—It was a mother-and-daughter evening Thursday night for Tristan Elizabeth Baidal-Riley and her mother, Tracey Riley. The two attended Shen Yun Performing Art’s first Vancouver show of the season at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Ms. Baidal-Riley, a dancer in training who studies classical ballet at Pro Arté Centre, found Shen Yun’s presentation classical Chinese Dance both interesting and amazing.
“It was very interesting how they thought about every movement and how every movement counts. And the technique was amazing,” she said.
Shen Yun, the world’s foremost classical Chinese dance company, has almost single-handedly revived this vast art form that was developed over 5,000 years of Chinese history. Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world.
“Creativity is a big thing for this company, for Shen Yun,” said Ms. Baidal-Riley. “It was creativity that was everywhere.”
“It was amazing how they interpret different kinds of dance.”
As a dancer, Ms. Baidal-Riley appreciated the hard work and dedication necessary to achieve the level of professionalism presented by Shen Yun’s dancers.
“Dance is a very hard thing to do,” she said. “You have to have a lot of tenacity and a lot of power and confidence in yourself and just know in your heart that you want it so badly.”
“I really believe that dance gives you pleasure.”
It’s not only charming, its informative
Ms. Riley was equally impressed.
“I’m so glad [my daughter] convinced me to come tonight. It was an amazing, beautiful experience,” said Ms. Riley, who works as an airline pilot for Air Canada, flying the Queen of the Fleet, a Boeing 777, the company’s largest plane.
“The dancers, the production—it’s not only charming, its informative, and to watch that performance onstage with the precision and grace and beauty, and to tell a story at the same time is absolutely brilliant.”
She was particularly impressed with the spiritual aspects of the performance that showcases China’s semi-divine culture, a culture that has long been steeped in spiritual traditions.
“What I found inspiring is that everything was in a very positive light,” she said. “Most of the pieces that were done were presented with reference to meditation in particular and Buddhism and some of the practices and the relationship between heaven and earth. I just thought that was very beautifully done. I really did.”
According to the Shen Yun website: “Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
Ancient Chinese traditions and beliefs have always stressed the connection between man and nature, and Shen Yun weaves this principle into the fabric of the performance. This was something that particularly resonated with Ms. Riley.
“I spend most of my time at 35,000 feet. I think that understanding the harmony between the earth and the sky is very, very important. I thought the touching belief aspect of the program was inspiring, truly, and something that you can take to heart and take home with you.”
In addition to ancient legends and myths, Shen Yun presents stories from contemporary China. One such piece depicts the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in mainland China. Falun Gong, a traditional meditation practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance has been brutally persecuted by the Chinese regime for over a decade.
“The information that came through in the stories I thought was very well presented. Very tastefully presented as well. I did find that those pieces were as beautiful as they were touching,” said Ms. Riley.
“If you don’t carry compassion with you on a daily basis you just find yourself going through traffic as an angry individual, for instance at rush hour. You have to take those values and bring them into your daily life. And maintain the harmony, which is often very difficult to do on a day-to-day basis.”
Ms. Riley had some advice for those attending Shen Yun.
“Come here with an open mind, be prepared to see something beautiful and perhaps life-changing if you really pay attention,” she said.
“Just enjoy a moment in time where you’re not racing and running around. Try and take as much as you can away from the show, but be in the moment of the actual experience because it’s so beautiful, it really is.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Ryan Moffatt
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.