World-famous classical Chinese dance troupe, Shen Yun, is coming back to Toronto this spring for another round of shows. Now in its 13th year, the company has earned global recognition and is scheduled to perform in more than 150 cities across five continents, however, it has never performed in China.
Shen Yun Performing Arts was established by a group of elite Chinese artists in New York in 2006, with the aim of reviving China’s 5,000 years of traditional culture. It’s an age-old heritage with a spiritual essence that’s mostly lost on the mainland today under communist rule. Based outside China, however, Shen Yun enjoys the artistic freedom it needs to present the splendour and authenticity of the ancient civilization live on stage through music and dance.
One of the richest qualities of classical Chinese dance is its ability to express human emotions and depict personalities of every kind. This quality adds a dramatic dimension in storytelling to the Shen Yun performance.
“Shen” means divine being, while “Yun” means rhythm, conveying a person’s entire demeanor. It’s this element of “yun” that makes classical Chinese dance so expressive, and what differentiates the art from classical ballet, according to Shen Yun principal dancer Miranda Zhou-Galati.
“The ‘bearing’ carried by classical Chinese dancers is something really magical,” she says. “It enables the dancer to perfectly portray almost any character in any scenario.”
Zhou-Galati has danced with the company since the beginning, and over her 13 years with Shen Yun she has portrayed many characters, including Mulan, Lady of the Moon, and a bodhisattva statue (a dancing one, of course). In addition to rigorous daily training, she spends time learning about her characters in depth so that she can “become” them, not just play them.
“I don’t want to be me, Miranda, dancing this character. I really have to dive into the character’s feelings or emotions at the time. It has to have conviction.”
Along with ingenious choreography showcasing classical Chinese dance, the program features immersive backdrops, exquisite costumes, original music, and a live orchestra that combines Chinese and Western instruments.
Shen Yun will perform eight shows in Toronto from March 24 to 29, 2020 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $100 and can be purchased through shenyun.com/toronto or by calling the Box Office at 416.363.8231.
The company will perform in Hamilton on December 30 and 31, 2019, and in Mississauga from January 8 to 12, 2020.
For more information visit: shenyun.com/canada
Learn more about the dance troupe below: