VANCOUVER, Canada—Deborah Kraus was captivated with the artistry in Shen Yun Performing Arts, saying she loved the dancing and the costumes, but also enjoyed learning about a different culture through the performance and the rich values she saw in it: truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
“I see these values, and … I think it was kind of brilliant to use the arts to get this specific message out,” said Kraus, adding that these are values that she “would get behind” herself.
“I think this is a really brilliant way of approaching it by bringing the culture out there, [presenting] it worldwide.”
Darren, who accompanied Kraus to the performance, said he loved the dancing and the colours in the performance, as well as the presentation of China’s ancient culture. The two saw Shen Yun on Sunday, Jan. 24, at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
“They also express the culture of thousands of years—it honours that culture,” Darren said. “I think what is beautiful about it is that it takes the beauty of the culture of China, of the thousands of years, and preserves it in a way that we can understand and really take in.”
Indeed, it is the mission of New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts to preserve China’s divinely inspired culture, which was all but once lost under communist rule. The company boasts four equally large touring groups, each with its own full orchestra, that travel the world each year to bring their exhilarating performances—which are in large part classical Chinese dance accompanied by original compositions—to audiences worldwide.
Darren said that what really stood out for him was the enthusiasm visible in the face of the dancers as they performed, and their source of inspiration.
“I really enjoyed the spirited essence of what they are trying to perform,” he said.
“There is a lightness, there is a joy, there is just an open happiness about their belief. Even if it is just dancing, you can tell that there is something beyond that as well that clearly resonates from them to the audience.”
According to the Shen Yun website, Shen Yun artists follow China’s noble tradition of taking the divine as inspiration.
“Throughout history, almost every culture looked toward the divine for inspiration. Art was meant to uplift, bringing joy to both the people who created and experienced it. It is this principle that drives Shen Yun performers and their art,” the website explains.
“Today, Shen Yun’s artists…follow this noble tradition. For them, this spiritual connection is motivation for striving to excel, is the heart behind each movement of the dancer and each note of the musician. It is why audiences can feel there is something different about Shen Yun. Their source of inspiration, rooted in traditional Chinese culture, is the spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa.”
‘Evokes Something Deep’
The fact that Shen Yun uses state-of-the art animated backdrops and a unique orchestra that combines traditional Chinese instruments with a Western orchestra make the performance all the more impressive.
“I’m amazed at how well synchronized they are with the dancing and the funny stuff that they do in the background with the people floating in on clouds and appearing onstage,” Darren said about the use of backdrops. “It is really well choreographed.”
He was also impressed with the orchestra and its unique blend of Chinese and Western instruments.
“There is a playfulness about the use of the instruments, as well, which I think resonates with people because some of the instruments seem very simple, ancient. But yet at the same time it evokes something deep inside each one of us,” he said.
“It was amazing; it was beautiful,” said Kraus.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The company that performed in Vancouver was World Company. 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.