The Ticket: Shen Yun Performing Arts Brings China’s History to the Stage

The classical Chinese dance troupe returns to Queen Elizabeth Theatre just in time for Vancouver's Chinese New Year celebrations.  

January 27, 2017

By Rita Javorski / Photo: Shen Yun Performing Arts

Shen Yun Performing Arts returns to Vancouver this weekend to grace audiences with their impressive acrobatics and traditional charm.

The company, who performs annually in Vancouver, is happy to be back in the city. “With Vancouver being so multicultural, this is a great activity for the whole family, and the whole [Chinese] community,” says Kelly Wen, the show’s Master of Ceremonies. The performance takes traditional Chinese culture to a level that can’t even be found within China and delves into the country’s 5,000-year-old history, bringing ancient stories to life using traditional dance and musical techniques.

“Shen Yun,” which translates into “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” is an apt name for the company whose dancers begin training as children, practicing eight to 10 hours per day. Much of  Chinese dance is less about the movements, and more focused on the intent with which they are made. The Shen Yun dancers are trained in the art of “yun” or bearing (the feeling and drive that create movements), and are taught to perfect their motions down to the most minute detail,  a feat translated through the company’s stunning stage performances.

This year’s Shen Yun performance features a 3D backdrop displaying animations and projections, an orchestra comprised of both western and Chinese instruments and a full cast of dancers performing an impressive array of acrobatic stunts and classical choreography. “There is a moment in every show where you hear a soft gasp from the audience because you see the characters pop out of our screen! It is so seamlessly connected [with the dance],” says Wen. The two and a half hour performance is comprised of 21 acts, including crowd and company favourite, the story of the Monkey King.

Shen Yun runs January 29 to 31 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

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