MP Returns to Shen Yun for Sights, Sounds, and Happy Endings
MP Stephen Woodworth said he is so impressed by the talent and discipline of Shen Yun’s dancers that he returns each year. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth said that he has seen Shen Yun every time that it has come to his city, and he enjoys it each time, too. He says understanding the show as he does, adds to the depths of the performance and his enjoyment of it.
“I’m always so impressed with the talent and the discipline of the dancers. Everything all works together—the costumes, the music, the movements. It’s really a work of great artistry in my opinion,” he explained.
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, a heritage nearly lost after 60 years of Chinese Communist rule.
Mr. Woodworth said that he was very appreciative of that effort.
“I think that there’s been a great richness and a great vibrancy in Chinese culture for many thousands of years, so it’s well worth preserving.”
Noting the grand scale of the production, he said, “I think it’s obvious the amount of work that’s gone into this [show].
“When I look at the young men doing their back flips … it’s almost magical. It’s the closest we will ever get to unaided human flight. They almost seem to move in slow motion sometimes, I don’t know how they do it. So I admire that dedication. I know how much training and effort it takes.”
The MP talked a little about the dance involving the meditation practice, Falun Dafa, which is persecuted in China today.
“It reminds us that whatever difficulties we face in this life, we always have hope. Mahatma Gandhi once said that although tyrants and murderers will always arise, they will pass away—love and truthfulness will endure forever. So that’s always another nice part of this show, that it does have that happy ending and hope for the future,” he said.
“The physical performance is a metaphor for the spiritual performance. When we watch those dancers almost float across the scene, it is a metaphor for the human spirit, floating across the face of the Earth, but I still enjoy watching how they do that physically … I’m very impressed by them.”
He also appreciated the amount of thought and care that went into the many details of the performance.
“It really speaks to a lot of training and discipline and hard work. It’s just a very enjoyable performance visually and musically—it’s a delight to watch and to listen to.
Shen Yun’s Traditional Instruments Sound “Delicious,” Says Flamenco Guitarist
Accomplished guitarist Cuneyt Yetkiner, seen with his girlfriend Amanda Wendell, said Shen Yun’s musicians showed phenomenal talent at the opening night performance Jan. 10, at Centre In The Square theatre in Kitchener-Waterloo. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Audience member, Cuneyt Yetkiner, became an instant fan of Shen Yun after listening to its live orchestra.
“It’s lovely,” he enthused, “Especially the erhu [two stringed violin]—it definitely sounds delicious, sounds really good. I love it!”
Being a celebrated Turkish-born flamenco guitarist, Mr. Yetkiner said that Shen Yun’s orchestra and traditional Chinese instruments have inspired his future song writing.
“I definitely got a lot [of inspiration] for sure.”
Mr. Yetkiner, aka Juneyt, has been playing flamenco guitar for over 13 years. Known for his unique Nuevo Flamenco style and incredible finger work, he has played alongside many well-known musicians in Europe and performed on more than 15 albums.
Mr. Yetkiner commented on Shen Yun’s musical talent, saying it was extraordinary.
“I think they’re phenomenal, they’re very good, everything is very well organized,” he said.
Mr. Yetkiner especially liked the dancers’ athleticism and the choreography.
“It was extremely well done,” he said. “Very, very enjoyable—it’s very good.”
The musician marveled at the split-second coordination between the dancers and the live orchestra, saying it was exceptional.
“Especially the motion, with the certain sounds, it just matches perfectly,” he said. “It obviously requires a lot of practice.”
Author-Speaker Says Shen Yun Left Her with Deep Thoughts
Rachelle Hunt-McPhail and Tommy Hiller enjoyed Shen Yun’s sold-out performance on Jan. 11 at Centre In The Square theatre in Kitchener-Waterloo. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
Also enjoying the show was Richelle Hunt-McPhail, who was accompanied by her friend Tom Hiller, who works at Waterloo-based Research In Motion.
Ms. Hunt-McPhail is an author, educator, and speaker, most known for authoring the book, Life After Jamie, the story of triumph in regaining her life after the death of her beloved husband.
Ms. Hunt-McPhail said that the show moved her and left her with deep thoughts.
“I found myself smiling, I found myself teary, it’s wonderful, and this is my first show.”
She added, “It’s wonderful. I’ve enjoyed every piece of the show.”
She said that some of her co-workers are Chinese, which made the performance even more special for her.
“I was so impressed … there’s just so much to China and Chinese culture,” she noted. “I’ve had [Chinese] colleagues and I love them to death but I’ve never thought about China in the same way. This is a wonderful night.”
She referred to the show as an evening of elegance and divinity.
“Every single part moved me in some way,” Ms. Hunt-McPhail said. “The beauty of the country, the beauty of the dance, the elegance.”
She thought the dance set, Sand Monk Is Blessed, was particularly fun and insightful, as it touched upon the evolution of Chinese culture. It’s a comical piece about a monk’s adventures on a pilgrimage to seek Buddhist scriptures, based on the beloved Chinese classic Journey to the West.
In the end, Shen Yun left her with “big thoughts [about] reincarnation, and the luck of being human, and hope, and beauty,” she said.
Baritone Enjoys All the Music of Shen Yun
Baritone singer and actor Tim Clarke praised the musical direction of Shen Yun after seeing the show Friday, Jan. 11, at the Centre In The Square theatre. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Tim Clarke, an actor and singer in musical theater, was totally delighted with the world renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts show at Centre In The Square.
“I really enjoyed it. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” said Mr. Clarke, who has performed in such iconic musicals as Les Misérables and Oliver! with Triple Threat Theatre in southern Ontario.
Mr. Clarke especially praised soprano Geng Haolan, but was quick to note that he “enjoyed all the singers.”
“[She] was fantastic,” he said, adding that her voice was “very resonant, extremely resonant—I could hear her voice vibrating in my ear.”
Mr. Clarke thought the orchestra was “beautiful,” saying that he “liked the combination of Chinese instruments and brass and violin, the strings.”
“I really enjoyed all the music. The percussion was also excellent,” he said, adding that he very much liked the sound of the erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument with only two strings that has been called the “Chinese violin.”
Overall, “I think the musical direction was excellent. It sounded great, and I appreciate that it’s all played live,” Mr. Clarke said.
With a background in singing, acting, and dancing, Mr. Clarke is very familiar with the production of theatrical and musical performances that combine acting, dance, music, and the technical elements of entertainment.
That is, in part, why he especially liked the dance set, Sand Monk Is Blessed.
“I really enjoyed the sea ogre,” he said, referring to the character who was redeemed in the story and became known thereafter as the Sand Monk.
He also mentioned another favorite dance set of his, An Early Spring, in which graceful dancers twirl colorful handkerchiefs evoking the annual change of seasons.
“I really liked An Early Spring, as soon as they started twirling their handkerchiefs. It was just thrilling to watch the handkerchiefs fly,” he said.
He concluded, “I think it’s fantastic that they put together a brand new show every year.”
Chinese Immigrants Admire and Praise Shen Yun’s Exquisite Performance
After watching Shen Yun with her husband, Jenny was very excited, “I don’t think there is any other performance anywhere in the world that is on the same level as Shen Yun. Every program thrilled me from deep inside, like every cell in my body was excited by it.
“My body and mind were immersed in God’s grace. I could feel that gods and Buddhas were protecting me. I couldn’t hold back my tears.”
Ms. Wang, who is from Dalian City, Liaoning Province, said that she and her daughter drove from Milton to see the performance.
She exclaimed, “It’s a full house today! Although this show represents traditional Chinese culture, it is so popular in the Western society. We Chinese can’t miss it.
“Chinese people nowadays lack spiritual beliefs; they do not believe in God. Through art, dance, music, and singing, Shen Yun brings China’s divinely inspired culture back to life. That is of great significance, very outstanding.”
Ms. Wang continued, “The older generations in China have a strong belief in gods and Buddhas because it is deeply rooted in their culture. I also believe that gods must exist and Shen Yun absolutely convinced me of that.
“Without a Creator, where would everything, including us humans and the universe, come from? Shen Yun got me thinking where people come from and where they will eventually return to.”
Ms. Wang especially identified with the lyrics in one of the songs sung by a soprano, “Atheism is a lie and evolution is a sham.”
“This is so true!” exclaimed Ms. Wang, “Look at China today. The degeneration of morality comes from the emptiness of spiritual belief. For dozens of years, the Chinese Communist Party has ruined the essence of authentic Chinese culture. It brainwashes the Chinese people with atheism, lies to them, and then presents itself as the ultimate authority. It manipulates people’s minds and fools the people. It’s just evil!”
Mr. Wang, a student from China, has watched Shen Yun for three years in a row. It’s a way for him and his girlfriend to celebrate the New Year in the United States.
He said that although he is Chinese, his understanding of traditional Chinese culture is very limited. To him, watching Shen Yun is like attending a history class, because it enables him to know more about Chinese traditional values and his cultural heritage.
Mr. Wang found every program “amazing,” saying it “demonstrated China’s history, divine stories, and legends.”
He said that he is familiar with the stories in Shen Yun and felt very close to the characters on stage.
“Shen Yun is an arts feast that has greatly contributed to the promotion and revival of traditional Chinese culture.”
Mr. Wang concluded, “I respect the artists’ enthusiasm, professionalism, and their goal of reviving the Chinese traditional arts. I thank them very much!”
CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts