Hamilton, Canada: Shen Yun a Feast for the Eyes and a Feast for the Soul (Photos)

(Minghui.org) The world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts company was warmly received for three sold-out shows at Ontario’s Hamilton Place Theatre on January 12-13, 2013. The spectacular event followed a string of standing-room only performances across eastern Canada.

Shen Yun “A Living Painting,” Says Visual Artist

Visual artist Yvonne Erlichman said she was deeply moved by Shen Yun’s superior artistry and uplifting message after attending the performance Jan. 12 at Hamilton Place Theatre. (Courtesy of NTD Television)

Visual artist Yvonne Erlichman said that she enjoyed every aspect of the Shen Yun show.

“This was an absolute feast, feast for the eyes, feast for the ears and feast for the heart!” she exclaimed.

Ms. Erlichman has been a portrait and oil painter for the past 40 years, and has also worked as a jewelery designer and lamp worker.

She fell in love with Shen Yun’s artistry, saying, “The singing, the dancing, every movement was poetry.”

Shen Yun’s array of handcrafted costumes, fascinated Ms. Erlichman, particularly the colors.

She described the entire performance as a “living painting,” adding, “Every one was a masterpiece, and every one triggered certain emotions based on the color combinations of the costumes.”

Ms. Erlichman found the dance set, Phoenix Fairies, which depicts phoenix maidens soaring in a faraway paradise, to be “absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!” noting that “the combination of the indigo with the orange flames and the coordinated movements with those splashes of color was breathtaking, too!”

She also enjoyed Shen Yun’s innovative state-of-the-art animated backdrops which help extend the stage and provide a vivid experience for audiences.

“The backdrop was a brilliant idea,” said Ms. Erlichman. “The notion of the piece of animation, where you’ve got the figures flying in [from the backdrop] and then suddenly they’re alive on the stage—that was wonderful.

“That takes you to another world. It turns you into a 5-year-old, when it comes to pure joy—just joy and appreciation. It’s like being in a candy store!” she excitedly said.

“I wish I could have some of the dancers hold some of the poses so I could do portraits of them,” she mused. “That would be an absolutely wonderful opportunity.”

Ms. Erlichman found a spiritual message in Shen Yun’s performances, that is, one of hope and joy.

“The spiritual message is clear and it is a celebration of humanity; not to point out our differences but what we have in common, our hopes, our dreams,” she said.

From a spiritual level alone, she felt the show was important for everyone to see.

“I don’t think anyone could walk away without having felt something, because it connects you at a heart level,” she said.

“It has opened everybody’s hearts who attended this, so I praise [Shen Yun] for being so brave as to do something incredible. It’s uplifted everyone on a spiritual level,” she explained.

“It’s a celebration of the human spirit. I think [Shen Yun has] declared freedom for all of us,” she added.

Ms. Erlichman said that Shen Yun invoked a feeling of peace in her, which helped make the show a complete sensory experience.

“Without question, because everything was so harmonically beautiful, the presentation was exquisite. [Shen Yun] couldn’t possibly do anything better, so it was a feast for the eyes and a feast for the soul. It covered all possible senses.”

Ms. Erlichman noted that the richness and value of Chinese culture, opened up for her a window into the spirit or essence of ancient China.

“[Shen Yun] sparked my appetite,” she said.

Shen Yun was founded on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely-inspired Chinese culture, a heritage nearly lost after 60 years of Communist rule.

Ms. Erlichman felt that the knowledge of any culture that is thousands of years old should be respected and acknowledged.

“Medically, artistically, and culturally, there is so much to be learned from it.”

“It was a real blessing to be part of this,” she concluded.

Award-Winning Singer: “The Singing Was Superb!”

Renowned professional singer Susan Gudgeon attended Shen Yun Performing Arts on Sunday evening, Jan. 13, at Hamilton Place Theatre and gave high praise to the voice artists. “It was just stunning, the voices were amazing,” she said. (Courtesy of NTD Television)

With over 30 years of experience as a professional vocalist, actor, dancer, and adjudicator, teacher Susan Gudgeon has a natural penchant for singing, vocal, and performance.

“The singing was superb, it was lovely, I loved it very, very much,” said Ms. Gudgeon, who has been the recipient of numerous musical awards and scholarships.

Ms. Gudgeon has performed with all the major opera companies and symphonies across Canada in her extensive career, as well as with many theater companies such as the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival.

“It was just stunning, the voices were amazing. I loved the resonating tones. I loved the sounds and the vibrations that they were creating,” Ms. Gudgeon said, especially complimenting sopranos Pi-ju Huang and Haolan Geng.

“It was just beautiful, colorful tone quality—both of the ladies.”

“I felt they sang with such commitment and belief, and that was something that was very impressive,” Ms. Gudgeon said.

“They were singing fully from their heart, fully, totally committed. They were truly singing from their soul and their divine being, I felt that completely. I got a sense of spiritual commitment and strength of the spirit.”

Ms. Gudgeon said that the live Shen Yun Orchestra was “fabulous!” adding, “I loved the combination of the classical Western instruments with the Chinese. They were amazing.”

She marveled about the fact that everything in the performances was “so synchronized and perfect,” adding, “especially the women, they are so beautiful.”

Ms. Gudgeon continued. “Everything was just absolutely synchronized to a fault, … and just the human beings working together creating something so beautiful, it was great.

“I enjoyed the show very much. It was a wonderful show,” Ms. Gudgeon enthused.

University Dean of Education and Daughter Thoroughly Enjoy Shen Yun

Fiona Blaikie, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, brought her daughter Sophie to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at Hamilton Place Theatre on Saturday, Jan 12. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

Fiona Blaikie brought her daughter Sophie to see the Shen Yun show, turning an ordinary evening into a very special occasion.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Ms. Blaikie, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Brock University in St. Catherine’s.

“As you can see, I have a daughter adopted from China, so for her as well, it’s very special. She just turned 11—this is her birthday outing.”

When asked how she liked the show, she replied, “It’s really good. I really liked the costumes. They are fun.”

With a doctoral degree from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts in Education at the University of British Columbia, Ms. Blaikie is not only an internationally recognized scholar in art education, but also a practicing artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and is held in collections around the world.

Spectacular, Panoramic Backdrops

Ms. Blaikie had high praise for Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art digital projection, which is designed to complement and synchronize with every aspect of each dance and song, including the colors, costumes, storyline, dance movements, music, lighting, and audio effects.

Some of the dances feature characters descending from the screen onto the stage and vice versa.

“We liked the technical effects where the people disappear into the backdrop scene. I think it’s very clever, the use of technology combined with the dancing and performing,” Ms. Blaikie said.

“Beautiful, I find them very spectacular and panoramic. It’s nice to get a sense of seeing Mongolia, and comparing it with the palace and with different landscapes, gives you a sense of China.”

She noted that the show is certainly giving Sophie a sense of Chinese culture, as she was very young when she came to Canada.

Fabulous Colors and Costumes

“The costumes are stunning and the dancing is amazing,” Ms. Blaikie added, also complimenting the use of color throughout the production.

“Fabulous, just amazing, they are not colors that you’d normally put together, but they look amazing and I think it’s very professional,” she said.

Shen Yun Exudes Culture

Ms. Blaikie, like many audience members, was touched by the deep layers of meaning in the lyrics and their philosophical reflection about human life, noting that the lyrics were part of the educational value of Shen Yun.

“One of the things that I really liked was the translation of the words in the songs,” she said.

“The songs that are sung are beautiful, but seeing the translations into English gives you a sense of the philosophy of the Chinese way of being, the sense of history and context, and the past, the present, and the future—the idea of luck and the idea of being in the right place at the right time, but also the idea of hard work.

“So I think you get a real sense about the culture.”

Ms. Blaikie was especially touched by soprano Pi-ju Huang’s song, “which spoke of ancient people and about the divine spirit.”

“I thought that was very beautiful,” she said.

Ms. Blaikie said that she saw the educational value in Shen Yun such as “seeing the Mongolian countryside, and the costumes, the people dancing with the bowls on their heads … seeing the monks.”

Ms. Blaikie’s awards and honors include the Canadian Society for Education through Art Affiliate Award for Ontario, and work as Deputy Chief Examiner of Visual Arts for the International Baccalaureate Organization.

In addition, she created the award-winning Community Arts and Heritage Education Project in Northern Ontario, a program that has become a model for community arts programming in the province.

Overwhelmed,” Says Deputy Judge and Former UN Delegate

Tom Sutherland poses for a photo with the Shen Yun Performing Arts’ program book at the Hamilton Place Theatre on Sunday Jan. 13. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)

One of the many VIPs in the audience, Tom Sutherland, a lawyer, deputy judge, Queen’s Counsel, and former delegate to the United Nations, was deeply impressed by the Shen Yun show.

“It’s a fantastic show. Color, music, wonderful history, the choreography—excellent!” Mr. Sutherland exclaimed.

Speaking during intermission, he praised every element of the performance, especially the digital projections.

“I’m looking forward, I can’t wait to see the second half of the show, I’m not surprised that it’s sold out.”

He praised the show, saying it was “just wonderful … fantastic.”

“I’m glad there’s a wonderful turnout here today, and of course other shows elsewhere, and I understand there are three companies that travel throughout the world,” he remarked.

His advice to others is: “Go and see a wonderful show of music, dance, and artistry.”

When asked how he liked Shen Yun’s unique philharmonic orchestra, Mr. Sutherland replied, “Wonderful music, it captures the true language and culture of the Chinese people. … I tell you, this is fantastic!”

He thought that Shen Yun provided audiences a snapshot picture of the history of China and allowed audiences in North America “to appreciate the Chinese culture even more when they see the color and the dancing and the artistry of the program.”

Mr. Sutherland said that Shen Yun’s hand-tailored costumes were “wonderful.”

“I was overwhelmed, it was dynamite, the precision, the choreography, the music, the color, the costumes, the dress—wonderful, fantastic. I’ve been to Hong Kong 33 times and Taiwan 13 times, but I’ve never had an opportunity to see this kind of show there.

“I’m so happy I was able to come here. No wonder they are sellout shows. They deserve to have full houses and it’s fantastic.”

Mr. Sutherland was thoroughly impressed by how the staging, choreography, and orchestra worked together so well, noting the incredible precision of it all.

Shen Yun musical soloists, which includes bel canto singers and an erhu virtuoso, were also “dynamite,” he said.

“The passion, the history, wonderful, colorful exploration of the culture, long history of Chinese culture—wonderful.”

Shen Yun’s Cultural Artistry Praised by Home Show Owner

John Radick, owner of the Niagara Home and Health Expo, attended Shen Yun’s matinee performance at Hamilton Place Theatre on Jan. 13. He wished people in mainland China could also enjoy the showcase of traditional Chinese performing arts presented by Shen Yun, which reflects the spiritual essence of the ancient culture. (Courtesy of NTD Television)

Also in the audience was Jon Radick, owner of the Niagara Home and Health Expo.

“A really good show,” he said. “I don’t think there is anything else like this.”

“The amount of effort that went into it is just tremendous. They must spend, I would imagine, months and months if not years of training for it,” he said.

Alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. Passed down through the people, imperial courts, and ancient theater, the dance form has gradually developed into the vast, systematic, and distinctly Chinese art form there is today.

Mr. Radick remarked about how impressed he was by Shen Yun’s brightly colorful costumes, saying that they “were absolutely incredible.”

He also enjoyed Shen Yun’s state-of-the-art animated backdrop — which interacts with the performers — having characters flying into the screen or onto the stage.

“I thought that was very well done. It was very well choreographed,” Mr. Radick said.

“The orchestra was tremendous as well,” he added. “It is always nice to have a live orchestra, no question.”

Mr. Radick was also impressed by the great variety presented by Shen Yun, saying, “I wasn’t quite expecting that much variety to be quite honest.”

Mr. Radick reflected on the fact that traditional Chinese culture could not be openly expressed or promoted in today’s Communist China.

“Maybe one day things will change, because here you have over a billion people and they don’t have access to this great culture. I think that is just a crime,” he said .

Throughout its over 60 years of rule, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically repressed China’s traditions, particularly the respect for the divine, which is at the essence of traditional Chinese culture.

Shen Yun Redefines the Beauty of Chinese Orthodox Culture, Says New Immigrant from Yunnan

Mr. Yin, who immigrated to Canada from Yunnan Province, China, brought his wife, Ms. Li, and daughter to watch the performance on Jan. 13.

Also enjoying the show was Mr. Yin, who was accompanied by his wife, Ms. Li, and their daughter.

Mr. Yin, who immigrated to Canada from Yunnan Province, China, is of the Bai ethnic group. So while seeing the dance depicting his ethnic heritage, in Shen Yun’s program, he felt very nostalgic.

The three pagodas of Chongsheng Temple in Dali City in the background projection reminded Mr. Yin of his hometown.

Mr. Yin explained: “In Shen Yun’s original music, I heard the origin and essence of Bai ethnic music. It feels fantastic!”

The show broadened his understanding of his own Chinese heritage, teaching him about ethnic clothes and colors in China.

“Shen Yun gave me an insight into a very new, novel, and wonderful knowledge. Shen Yun presents Chinese traditional culture from an international standpoint or view, while I only look at the culture from a local perspective.”

Mr. Yin commented on the fact that Shen Yun brings traditional Chinese values to the stage from a wider and more specialized angle, providing people from all backgrounds the opportunity to interpret Chinese orthodox culture in a completely new way.

“It allowed me to see that there was another way to show beauty. This brand new angle gave me a whole different experience of Chinese culture. I learned so much from it. The performance redefines my understanding of the beauty of traditional cultural arts. Magnificent!” he enthused.

Mr. Yin and his wife are collectors of ethnic costumes, thus, when they saw the costumes in the show, they were full of praise.

Ms. Li said that the ethnic flavor and aura that Shen Yun portrays is very authentic, “We collect Chinese ethnic costumes, so we know about that, first hand.”

Both of them admired the Tibetan dance in the program and loved its ethnic spirit.

Mr. Yin said, “The Tibetan dance presented by the performers really appealed to me. The choreography and the music that accompanied the dance set was outstanding. It is definitely my favorite piece.”

Ms. Li agreed. “It was so authentic, like there were real Tibetans dancing on stage!”



Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts


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