MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Jacqui Penson has an interest in dance and other cultures and she was delighted by the experience of classical Chinese dance and music presented by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Living Arts Centre on April 28.
“I’m just blown away by this. I am interested in dance anyway so it’s been fascinating watching the cultural differences—the way dance is presented from the Chinese perspective versus the Western perspective,” Ms. Penson said during intermission.
New York-based Shen Yun is a non-profit organization founded on a mission to revive the traditional culture of China through worldwide performances of classical Chinese dance and music. It is a 5,000-year-old ancient culture whose essence is a deep reverence for the divine but one that has been nearly lost in its own country following decades of communist rule.
This was an aspect that spoke very much to Ms. Penson, who is retired.
“The spiritual aspect is really interesting,” she said, noting how the masters of ceremonies explained that Shen Yun can’t be seen in China today because returning to those spiritual roots would be problematic.
She remarked on the theme in some of the dances that portrayed repression of spiritual beliefs in modern-day China, highlighting the persecution of practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline.
“I am aware that certain groups, particularly the Falun Gong, are suppressed and persecuted, so I thought it was quite courageous to put it out there to show it’s more than just the dance,” she said.
“Getting back to their spiritual roots, I thought it was very progressive in a lot of ways, aside from just enjoying the beautiful stunning colours and patterns.”
“I love seeing, being able to draw on the wisdom of other cultures and other places,” Ms. Penson said, adding that she also has a love of patterns and enjoyed the balance in the performance.
“Everything is always balanced when you look at it. I find that kind of fascinating as well.”
Ms. Penson came to the show with her friend, Lorraine Mitchell, who noted her delight with the vivid digital backdrops created through state-of-the-art graphics technology.
“This is the second time I’ve seen them and I think it’s fabulous. I commented on the backdrop, which I think is so great,” she said. “Of course, you can attribute that to technology of today. But it’s just so beautiful. Wonderful. Wonderful.”
Reporting by Mathew Little and Cindy Chan
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.