OTTAWA, Canada—As a 30-year veteran dance teacher, performer, and choreographer who runs her own dance school, Nancy Feldbruegge has an eye for detail and excellence in dance. So it was with this background and expertise that she gave warm praise after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the National Arts Centre on Friday night.
“Kudos to the choreographers and the dancers for all their hard work,” Ms. Feldbruegge said, commending the artists of the renowned classical Chinese dance and music company.
Ms. Feldbruegge is one of the two artistic directors of Allegro DanceWorks, an established school that has been offering professional and recreational dance training since 1999.
Ms. Feldbruegge herself has performed extensively in musical theatre, dance competitions, and other productions. Several of her former students have gone on to successful careers in the performing arts in Canada and the United States.
“I think they’re fantastic,” Ms. Feldbruegge said of the Shen Yun dancers. “The precision that I’m seeing is very nice. The flexibility is very nice. Characterization and the performance as a group is very nice.”
Ms. Feldbruegge has also won several awards in dance competitions, including a five-star choreography trophy in Montreal. She praised the synchronization of the large-scale dances and commended the choreographers.
“As a dancer I know that it’s always hard as a choreographer to try to get that work together, especially with all those people on the stage, so yes, they’re very synchronized, which means they’ve worked very hard, and practiced very hard,” she said.
Ms. Feldbruegge teaches ballet, jazz, tap, and other dance styles, and said that she very much enjoyed seeing the performance of classical Chinese dance.
“I really enjoyed that each number is very colourful and unique,” she said.
She added that she sees the influence classical Chinese dance has had on ballet.
As explained on the Shen Yun website, the techniques of classical Chinese dance and its flips and other challenging movements impressed the world when they appeared on the global stage in the 1970s. Ballet gradually incorporated more and more of these techniques on a large scale, although using them in nonstandard ways.
In addition, within Chinese culture, the techniques of different art forms have influenced one another throughout the different dynasties. For example, there were entertainers who performed martial arts routines, and acrobats and street performers mainly used flips.
Ms. Feldbruegge said she enjoyed the jumping and flipping techniques of classical Chinese dance and took note of the variety of ethnic and folk dances featured in Shen Yun. These dances pay tribute to the many distinctive ethnic groups in China and around the Middle Kingdom’s borders.
As a choreographer, Ms. Feldbruegge also noted that the dances make great use of the stage.
“There’s a lot of patterning in and out … focusing the audience’s attention going in and out of various patterns,” she said.
“It’s always very entertaining, and they keep the attention going from the beginning of the number to the end. There’s usually a little bit of a storyline in each of the numbers, that takes a lot of thought from the point of the choreographer, so it’s a job well done.”
With extensive experience in musical theatre, Ms. Feldbruegge noted that the storytelling was another aspect she enjoyed.
“I’m enjoying the comedy aspects in some of the numbers that I’m seeing as well. They’re exploring various aspects of performance in each number.”
The mission of the New York-based company is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese culture on stage, presenting the authentic traditional Chinese values and virtues that have been nearly all but lost over decades of communist rule in China.
Ms. Feldbruegge noticed the expression of “honesty, purity, and grace and elegance,” values that resonated with her.
“I can see this through all their numbers,” she said.
“It’s always nice to go back to classical values. It’s kind of unique at this time. It’s different from other dance industries. We’re seeing a lot of other things coming out, so it’s nice and refreshing to see some basic values in dancing.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company will present two more performances in Ottawa until Jan. 4 before moving on to Montreal on Jan. 6. For more information or to buy tickets, visit: www.shenyun.com
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.