CALGARY, Canada—Gael MacLeod, alderman for the City of Calgary, was blown away by Shen Yun Performing Arts’ opening show at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m really enjoying it,” she said during intermission.
“It’s beautiful. I love the colours. I love the dance and the talent. There’s a lot of variety and a lot of history. It’s fascinating,” she added.
“I love the colours, the talent. and the movement. I’m really fascinated the way it all comes together—every piece plays a part in the whole picture. So it’s the colours, it’s the choice of colours, but it’s also the brightness and the life that comes into it.’
Classical Chinese dance, the hallmark of Shen Yun’s performances, is an art form that is both ancient and broad in its scope. Shen Yun is leading a revival of this art, and its dancers undergo rigorous training to achieve the technical perfection necessary to perform—something that impressed Ms. MacLeod.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “Every time they do the splits I’m just like, ‘Wow!'”
The program features a number of mini-dramas inspired by stories and legends that span the history of the Middle Kingdom, from the Yellow Emperor through the dynasties to today.
Ms. MacLeod appreciated the explanations given by the emcees before each piece.
“With the interpretation I get the gist of the dance, which is very nice,” she said.
“It’s very complex and integrated. … There is so much history there, you can see it in the dance, you can see the way it comes together.”
She said she especially enjoyed How the Monkey King Came To Be. The Monkey King is the central character in China’s classic novel Journey to the West.
“It was funny.”
Ms. MacLeod concluded by saying the Shen Yun performance “is a symbol of the diversity of this city.”
“We have a lot to be grateful for. We have a lot at this time of year as we’re celebrating Easter there’s so much about the freedoms, the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy in this country and how important it is to celebrate the diversity of culture, of faith, and the freedoms that we have.”
Reporting by Fany Qiu and Joan Delaney.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three equally large companies touring the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company is playing at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary until Monday before continuing on to Edmonton for two shows at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.