Shen Yun is a performing arts theatre company that showcases Chinese culture through music, dance and visual effects. It visits Vancouver in the spring.
In 2020, shows were scheduled to take place in Vancouver from March 13th until the 22nd. Unfortunately, all shows were cancelled due to COVID-19.
In 2021 Shen Yun is scheduled to return to Vancouver with shows from April 6th until the 11th.
Shen Yun World Tour
Shen Yun has been touring the globe since 2006 with their world-famous production which highlights the rich history and culture of ancient China. Their performances are different each year and involve elements of dance and music as well as beautiful artwork and scenery.
In its 2020 world tour, Shen Yun was going to take its all-new production to 200 cities on five different continents. This would have been possible through its seven different performing arts companies that tour simultaneously, each with its own live orchestra.
Shen Yun visits cities across Canada each year. Canadian venues on their 2020 tour included theatres in Ottawa, Hamilton, Montreal, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver.
In years when it isn’t cancelled, shows take place in Vancouver at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at 630 Hamilton Street. 2021 dates are April 6th until April 11th, although exact details are to be confirmed.
For tickets and the show’s official website click Shen Yun in Vancouver.
Shen Yun Performances in Vancouver
In 2020, if the coronavirus hadn’t been a factor, Shen Yun was going to perform ten times at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre between March 13th and the 22nd. There would have been no shows on the Monday or the Wednesday but there were two scheduled on both Saturdays. The performances would have run at 2:00 pm every day except on the Fridays when they were going to be at 7:30 pm, and on the Saturdays which were going to have both 2:00 and 7:30 pm shows.
The performances were scheduled to run for around two hours plus a 15-minute intermission time. Ticket prices in 2020 ranged from $95 up to $239 (plus theatre fee, ticketing fee and tax).
About Shen Yun
Founded in 2006 in the United States by Chinese artists living overseas, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a non-profit classical Chinese dance and music company. Based in New York, the company performs around the world.
Shen Yun’s performances present elements of Chinese history and culture. Performers use traditional Chinese dance styles and are accompanied by a full orchestra and a variety of unique special effects. Each show features over a dozen different dance elements and lasts for about 135 minutes including the intermission.
In Chinese “Shen” means “divinity” or “divine”, and “Yun” can be translated as either “rhythm” or “feeling”. So together it can be translated as “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”
For tickets and more information click Shen Yun in Vancouver.
What to Expect at a Shen Yun Performance
At a Shen Yun performance you’ll see elaborate sets and a stage full of dancers in amazing colours and costumes. You’ll witness lively drumming acts, grand-scale dances, vocal soloists, a full orchestra and immersive animated backdrops.
Each production comprises over a dozen short dance pieces of varying styles. Some scenes are about ancient traditional Chinese stories. Other pieces feature more contemporary stories, and still others showcase dances with backdrops representing different dynasties. Several pieces involve dozens of dancers on stage at the same time while at least a couple feature just one or two vocalists or instrumentalists.
Through its classical Chinese dance productions Shen Yun depicts the history, myths, and heroes of ancient China. Famous characters in the 2020 show included the Yellow Emperor, General Han Xin, General Yue Fei, Emperor Taizong, female warrior Mulan (featured in the 1998 Disney film) and the fearless Monkey King.
Shen Yun performances include a full orchestra with musicians playing both traditional Chinese instruments and Western instruments. Including dancers, orchestra members and people behind the scenes, each production features as many as 80 artists.
During the show bilingual MCs introduce each piece, which is helpful as it provides context to what you’re about to see. The hosts speak both Chinese and the main language of the city they are visiting, which in Vancouver is of course English. In addition to elaborate scenes being projected in the background during each piece, song lyrics are also translated and shown on screen.
Words audience members have used to describe Shen Yun include “uplifting,” “stunning,” “elaborate,” “inspiring,” “exquisite,” and “entertaining.”
For tickets and the event’s official website click Shen Yun Vancouver.
Shen Yun Video
To give you a visual idea of what to expect at a Shen Yun production, check out the following promotional video. As you’ll see, the sets, dancing, music and everything about the show is pretty amazing.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at Shen Yun.
TIP #1: If you’ve never been but you like dance, music, Chinese culture and big elaborate productions, go! It’s quite spectacular!
TIP #2: There were many sold-out shows across North America last season, so reserve your tickets earlier than later. Tickets are non-refundable but are exchangeable.
TIP #3: Buy your tickets from the official Shen Yun Website. Don’t buy them from online ticket re-sellers or scalpers. If you do the latter, and there are problems, you’ll be out of luck.
TIP #4: If you can afford it, pay the extra for a better seat. Every seat in the house is a good one, especially for a production this big. Seats closer to the stage, however, will allow you to see everything in greater detail and provide a much more immersive experience.
TIP #5: If sitting near the back, especially in the upper balcony, taking binoculars can be a good idea. You don’t have to, as you can see well from pretty much everywhere at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Binoculars, however, will allow you to see the details of costumes and the performers’ expressions that much better.
TIP #6: Shuttle service is available for all six matinee shows from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay ferry terminals (which makes it convenient for people coming from Vancouver Island). Shuttle service is also available from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Mission, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam and White Rock for most (but not all) matinee shows. Rates range between $25 and $40 round-trip. Click the above green city links for details about each location.
TIP #7: It’s a classy event and the suggested dress code is “business attire or evening wear.” So don’t wear jeans and a t-shirt!
TIP #8: Each year the production is different (which makes it great for people who go every year).
TIP #9: The show is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, except for very young children. Kids ages 4 and under are not permitted.
TIP #10: The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is conveniently close to both the Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain Station and Vancouver City Centre Station. So use public transit if you can. Or, if driving, give yourself lots of time in case traffic is bad or parking is a challenge to find.
Click Shen Yun Performing Arts for more details about the play and for tickets.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver March Calendar
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- Spring Break in Vancouver
- Vancouver Theatres
- Chinese New Year in Vancouver