OTTAWA, Canada—When the curtain was raised at the National Arts Centre (NAC) and Shen Yun Performing Arts’ began its performance, Jim Mehaffey said he felt wonder and delight.
“I smile inside,” he said, after the Jan. 4 evening performance.
“It’s spectacular. Every scene is beautiful, every scene is moving.”
Dr. Mehaffey is a leading scientist and professor in the field of fire safety, involved in research, technology, education, and policy around fire safety codes and standards. Before his retirement, he served as the CHM Fire Consultants Ltd., Fire Science Research and Engineering Principal, and was a Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at Carleton University.
He spent time working in Asia and has seen performances in China, but Shen Yun stands apart from the rest, he said.
“It’s really special, really excellent,” Dr. Mehaffey said, adding the story-based dance featured in Shen Yun was enthralling.
“I like the way it’s tied all together from one scene to the next scene—they are so beautifully choreographed, it’s wonderful.”
New York-based Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance and music company on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture—a culture systematically destroyed under decades of communist rule.
The company was formed in 2006 and has since become an international sensation, with four touring groups that perform to millions around the world. Shen Yun was making its eighth visit to Ottawa’s NAC.
Dr. Mehaffey was impressed by the high-calibre talent of the dancers, who perform alongside a full orchestra made up of traditional Western and Chinese instruments.
“I’m particularly enchanted by the incredible athleticism of the performances. They’re beautifully choreographed and timed with the music, but they’re also athletic—it’s wonderful,” he said. The athleticism impressed Dr. Mehaffey as he came from a sports background himself.
He also appreciated Shen Yun’s trademark animated backdrop, which projects lively scenes on screen to provide vivid context to each story-dance.
“The background work with the screen fits in very lovely with the performance,” said Dr. Mehaffey, adding all the elements combined flawlessly.
“Colourful, very moving, wonderful music, beautiful dancers.”
Dr. Mehaffey said his knowledge of traditional Chinese culture and spirituality was limited before seeing Shen Yun, but he came away with respect for its richness and universality.
“Its different from what I’ve experienced but I can appreciate the depth. I can appreciate the wonder. Its wonderful,” he said.
Dr. Abdul Al-Azzawi, a professor in the Photonics and Laser Technology Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, was also at the Jan. 4 evening performance and appreciated learning more about Chinese history.
“The show is nice. It reflects the Chinese culture and multiple cultures as well. I like it,” he said. “It shows the civilization until now.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
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. Shen Yun’s World Company finished in Ottawa on Saturday and will now go on to perform in Montreal.
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.