QUEBEC CITY, Canada—It’s the second year Denise Paradis has seen Shen Yun Performing Arts and the dance studio owner and veteran dancer was just as delighted as she was when she attended the renowned classical Chinese dance production the first time.
“It’s magical,” said Ms. Paradis at the Grand Théâtre de Québec following the New York-based company’s opening performance in Quebec City on Friday night.
“There’s always something new—the costumes, the choreography, and the way the spectacle is presented. So, for me, I’m completely sold on Shen Yun!”
Ms. Paradis explained that she teaches oriental dance, gypsy dance, Polynesian dance, and Tahitian dance at her school, Danse Orientale Shams, adding that the word “Shams” means the sun.
It is a highly appropriate stage name for the long-time teacher, dancer, and choreographer known for her passionate style, dynamism, and contribution to the development of oriental dance in Quebec City, as noted on her school’s website. The website also shows photos from provincial competitions at which members of the school had won medals.
As a veteran dancer and performer, Ms. Paradis recognized the professionalism of the show and the remarkable effort and “serious training” that had gone into the production.
“The technique they have, the hard work, it tells me something,” she said. “It’s extraordinary.”
Ms. Paradis said she was greatly impressed by the calibre of the all-new program.
“I know how much hard work it is. I think that these [performers] are super well-trained,” she said.
“To accomplish this, it has to be. These are people who are really very, very, very well trained,” she added, commending the dancers for their strength, energy, and mastery of the highly challenging movements integral to classical Chinese dance.
Training in classical Chinese dance has four components, according to the Shen Yun website. First,form involves dance combinations and basic barre practice. Bearing is a technique for expressing specific inner feelings through form. Dance technique requires training in difficult dance movements. And tumbling techniques include training primarily in different types of flips and in foundational skills.
Refinement, Synchronicity, and Professionalism
Ms. Paradis was also greatly moved by the themes conveyed by Shen Yun, especially highlighting the opening piece with its grand display of magnificent deities in a heavenly paradise.
“For me, it’s as soon as it started—the first one, the first presentation, I already felt overwhelmed. I had tears in my eyes and I think that it set up well the rest of the show,” she said.
After seeing Shen Yun last year, Ms. Paradis wanted to let others know about the show. She gave flyers to her students and one of them, Yolaine Richard, came with her husband to see the show on Friday night as well.
Ms. Richard, a retired clothing designer and owner of a company called Patchwork Design that offers all-handmade garments, gave warm praise to Shen Yun’s glamorous costumes.
“It’s colourful, it’s refined, very much so. I really like the oriental aspect, the aspect of the colour,” she said.
Each Shen Yun production showcases more than 400 intricate costumes. All are original designs and handmade, often hand-stitched.
“I dance as well, so I can appreciate the synchronicity and professionalism of the dancers. It’s really incredible,” Ms. Richard added.
Art and Spirituality
As an artist, she also commented on art and culture and their relationship to spirituality, a theme that came through in the Shen Yun performance.
As explained on the Shen Yun website, throughout history almost every culture looked to the divine for inspiration, and art was meant to uplift and bring joy to both the artist and viewer.
This is the principle that motivates Shen Yun performers, and the mission of the classical performing arts company is to revive a culture that was almost lost under communist rule in China—to restore principles such as benevolence and justice, belief in virtue, and respect for the heavens.
“We knew the Chinese culture was based on spirituality. It’s tragic that it’s being lost today. I believe people appreciate it a lot. We need it,” said Ms. Richard.
“A lot of the Chinese values resonate with us. They’re universal,” she added.
With reporting by Nathalie Dieul and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.