OTTAWA—Paul Magallanes, a director of finance, was intrigued by Shen Yun Performing Arts, which showed a “different side of China.”
It was a traditional China with values that felt common to humanity. “Loyalty, honesty, and love, and also belief in God, that belief that there is something more than physical,” Mr. Magallenes said after seeing the performance at the National Arts Centre on the afternoon of March 19.
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, with a mission to revive 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
“What’s happening in the world is there’s a missing element, something that could be better. Something you have to go back to the roots,” Mr. Magallenes said.
Mr. Magallenes was pleasantly surprised to learn that Shen Yun now has eight equal-sized companies touring the world simultaneously, and many others were able to experience what he had that afternoon. Many people think COVID and communism when they hear China, he said, and Shen Yun was showing something else entirely.
“You don’t see that part of China, and I think that it’s good to show that part,” he said.
Also in the audience was Sandra Petersen, a fundraiser for nonprofits, who also enjoyed seeing another side of China.
“It’s all of the things. It’s the past, it’s the present,” she said. “It’s the unfortunate realities that people in China are living, the beauty of it, the sadness of it.”
She felt the values of “family, spirituality, humanity” come through.
“Really, it’s coming across very strongly. People are so supportive and loving of each other and the divine, wanting to do good, be better for this life and the afterlife. It’s beautiful,” she said.
“The dancing. The choreography is amazing. The costumes are mind-blowing, plus it’s very informative. I didn’t realize there were so many stories to it. So really impressed.”
“I feel really privileged to be here today to see it,” she said.
Ummni Khan, a professor at Carleton University, felt a range of emotions during the performance.
“I thought it was incredible. It was moving. I was in tears, and then sometimes I was laughing, and I found the effects were so organic, how people would fly up into the heavens, but it just looked so natural,” she said. “I’d never seen something like that before, so it’s amazing.”
Being of Indian heritage, Ms. Khan said it was beautiful to get to know her neighboring culture, which she hadn’t realized also had a spiritual heritage.
“It was incredible. You just feel your heart moving,” she said. “The idea of peace, forbearance—I think it’s a universal message.”
“Tradition can bring us together and give us this message of peace, [which] is, I think, it’s the most important,” she said.
Reporting by Donna He and NTD.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.