VANCOUVER, Canada— This was how landscape designer Kristina Zalite described Shen Yun’s portrayal of traditional Chinese culture after she saw the performance at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 24.
Ms. Zalite also sings, dances, and plays the drums. As a drummer, she was very interested in “Drums of the Grasslands,” a Mongolian ethnic dance.
“I really appreciated the last piece, the drum dancing, because I play drums and I also love dancing, so for me to see people dancing and playing a musical instrument like percussion at the same time is just outstanding,” she said.
“It’s really impressive because you’re using not just your dancer body but your brain for playing music. Because I’m thinking about the orchestra playing music and the dancers are playing music and they’re playing together. So, very complex. I loved that piece.”
Accompanying Ms. Zalite was Oliver Schneider, a musician and event organizer. All aspects of the performance impressed him, including the orchestra and its unique blend of Chinese and Western instruments—combining the spirit of Chinese music with the grandeur of a Western orchestra.
“It’s excellent,” he said. “Any kind of meeting of styles I think is a very Canadian thing to do since that’s what Canada is all about—the meeting of different worlds, different cultures.”
New York-based Shen Yun draws on China’s 5,000 years of civilization, and each dance has its own theme, own story, and its own ethnic, regional, or dynastic grounding.
Ms. Zalite said she found the performance educational.
“For me it’s very educational because it’s showing little glimpses in different times, like the present-day and what’s happening, historically, and also classical and folk. I loved the folk piece quite a bit actually, I didn’t know there was some folk dancing like that in China so that was for me very educational.”
‘Uplifting and Enlightening’
Colin and Katherine Good were also in attendance for the Jan. 24 performance, and brought their three children along. Ms. Good said the educational and cultural value for her children was phenomenal.
“[There] was an impact on my children which is what I was after and wanted them to see,” she said.
“It was really uplifting and very enlightening,” Mr.Good agreed, adding it helped kids see and appreciate other cultural perspectives.
“I think it’s amazing. More families should bring the kids out.”
The couples’ daughter, Mercedes, called the experience “inspiring,” especially the dance called “The Lady of the Moon”—a classic Chinese legend about moon goddess Chang’E that was rewarded for her kindness on earth with eternal life on the moon.
“It teaches you about what can happen in life, like everything is possible,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen in the future.”
‘It takes our breath away’
Carlos Diaz, who attended the Jan.24 performance with his wife Alma, said he had to stop himself from praising the performers aloud during the production—a custom in Latin America, where he comes from.
“I wanted to say ‘Wow’ many times,” he said. “[I was] really, really thrilled.”
“It’s unbelievable,” added Mrs. Diaz. “It takes our breath away—the performances are just amazing, very unique.”
“It shows how the Chinese culture is. And for how many years they’ve been doing this—something that we didn’t know,” said Mr. Diaz.
“I will be back because every year it’s something different, something spectacular, which is really good. We enjoyed it so much.”
Reporting by Chen Si, Jeanne Ouyang, and NTD Television
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.