VANCOUVER, Canada—Kelly Loewen, a business owner specializing in foreign military helicopter repair and overhaul, was impressed by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the afternoon of March 25.
“10 out of 10,” he said. “ It was really good!”
“The costumes and the dancing were phenomenal. … It was just out of this world!”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based pieces that tell tales from ancient times to the modern day.
Loewen was most impressed with Shen Yun’s portrayal of principles in their story-based dances. According to the company’s website, the presented heroes embody the most exalted virtues of Chinese civilization and convey morals still relevant to the modern day.
“It was nice that it was modest and it had values … a belief in a God and the values of being a better person,” he said.
“It gets you out of your way of thinking and … puts your thoughts back to where it should be,” he added.
China was once known as “The Land of the Divine” and Shen Yun presents this culture by drawing upon the Middle Kingdom’s Buddhist and Daoist philosophies. In the past, artists looked to the divine for inspiration and cultivated virtue in order to create uplifting art. Today, Shen Yun’s artists follow in this noble tradition, which is why audiences feel there is something different about Shen Yun, says the company’s website.
In regards to the spiritually uplifting messages, “it makes you want to be a better person!” Loewen said.
Telling the Story Through Design
Helen Menyes, a scenic painter, and Kerry Martinson, a retired professional driver, also attended the Shen Yun performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on March 25.
“The costumes, the material, the colors, you didn’t need words, it told the story without words,” said Ms. Menyes.
According to the company’s website, Shen Yun’s costumes and colors are true to traditional aesthetics and styles, painting each dance piece with the splendor of the past.
As a scenic painter for the movies, Ms. Menyes was fascinated by the company’s patented method of integrating a 3D animated backdrop with the stage performance. It allows the performers to seamlessly travel back and forth between the stage and the background projection.
Reflecting on the stories portrayed by the dances that depicted the people of China from ancient times to the modern day, she said, “there’s a big story there … we are in it right now … but it shows that humanity should all rise together, all come together.”
Reporting by Sally Sun, Ryan Moffatt, and Jennifer Schneider.