MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Shannon Rose is familiar face to many in the Peel Region. She co-hosts a local talk show and has been working in the media for 25 years.
But on Thursday night, it was her turn to be entertained, and she was, leaving the Living Arts Centre gushing about the experience she and her daughter had just shared.
“The show is so beautiful. I have never seen something so colourful, so alive,” said Ms. Rose, explaining it was far beyond her expectations. Shen Yun’s dancers made an impression, she said.
“The men are so graceful and strong, and the women are graceful and soft. Its like they are floating through the world. It was beautiful.”
“I am extremely impressed,” she continued. “It is so beautiful—the movement, the music, the solos, the piano. It was just unbelievable. I am completely blown away by it. This is not what I had expected.”
Her daughter Savannah was equally enthralled.
“I loved it. That was the best show I’ve ever seen in my life. The movement, the dancing—it was so amazing,” she said.
Savannah was especially taken with erhu virtuoso Mei Xuan’s musical solo. The erhu is China’s two-stringed violin, an instrument with a surprising range and often mournful sound.
“How someone could play such beautiful music, with like two strings. To make it even more beautiful you have to comprehend what the dances mean, and I did that and so did my mom,” she said.
That meaning comes from Shen Yun’s founding mission: to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture. It’s a heritage that has been largely lost in China today due to 60 years of communist rule, but is alive and well in Shen Yun.
“I will definitely come back over and over again. I would recommend this to anyone. This is the best show out there. Completely blown away,” said Ms. Rose.
Ms. Rose has worked in the media for 25 years, going from being a model for informercials on the Home Shopping Channel to doing commercials and eventually hosting her own television shows focused on music. She’s currently co-host and producer for Today’s Talk TV on Rogers Television.
The opening piece in the second act was among many she singled out for special praise. That dance, Lotuses in Bloom, evokes the symbolic purity of the lotus flower which represents divine perfection in eastern cultures. The dancers hold long silken fans and float across the stage like celestial fairies.
“All the fans seemed as if they were flowers, like petals of flowers,” said Ms. Rose.
She was also impressed by Shen Yun’s vividly animated digital backdrops. These innovating settings extend the range of the stage and interact with the dancers in a way Ms. Rose said she enjoyed.
“I love when the characters from the screen come actually onto the stage. I have to say that is my favourite part. And something that really touches me, is that I came here with my daughter and she is like, ‘Mom this is the best show ever.’ She is so happy and she is enjoying it so much. I love that she is exposed to different cultures and different music.”
“She is like, ‘I love it. It’s so colourful, so alive.’”
Savannah said the performance filled her with joy.
“And the artists are unbelievable,” said Ms. Rose.
At a certain point though, she said it could not be described with words.
“You cannot explain it, you have to experience it,” she said.
“It was so inspiring. Unless you are there and you experience it, there are no words or images that can actually bring it to life as if you are sitting there and watching it. It just moves you, it just takes you over—the dance, the music, the vibe of the whole theatre. It is just incredible.”
Some dances even brought her to tears, she said.
“I walked away from this a little richer.”
“From the beauty, to the heavens, to the soul it moves you. I have to say that I look at the Chinese culture differently than what I did before.”
“I feel closer to it. I have experienced it on a different level today.”
She said it was an experience that others should share, and one she was grateful she had had.
“Overall, everyone out there, you have to come see this show. You will go away feeling elevated. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
With reporting by NTD Television
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will give four sold-out performances in Mississauga before heading to Toronto on Jan. 23. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org