Shen Yun showcases the rich history and culture of ancient China through classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music. It visits Vancouver in the spring.
The New York-based Chinese performing arts theatre company returns to Vancouver from March 21st until March 26th in 2023. We saw last year’s show and it was amazing! We can’t wait to see it again!
For the production’s official website, and to buy tickets, click Shen Yun in Vancouver.
Shen Yun World Tour
Founded in 2006 in the United States by Chinese artists living overseas, Shen Yun tours globally every year, delighting audiences with its depiction of traditional Chinese culture.
Shen Yun has played in cities across Canada each year, each time with an all-new program of dance and music. The shows also have unique animated backdrops that extend the stage, having the effect of transporting the audience to another world.
Shen Yun didn’t tour in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The shows returned in 2022 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, at 630 Hamilton Street, from March 22nd to 27th. Shen Yun is scheduled to visit Vancouver in 2023 once again, from March 21st to the 26th.
A non-profit based in New York, Shen Yun, has seven different performing arts companies that tour simultaneously, each with its own live orchestra. The orchestra features a mix of western and Chinese instruments, blending the spirit of Chinese music with the grandeur of a western orchestra.
Shen Yun’s performances present elements of Chinese history and culture. Performances feature the ancient art form of classical Chinese dance as its centrepiece, as well as ethnic dances and dances that depict stories and legends from the Middle Kingdom’s rich cultural fabric.
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.”
Every performance involves dozens of dancers, along with musicians, singers, and technical crew – over 90 artists altogether. The performance lasts for about 135 minutes, including the intermission.
For tickets and the show’s official website 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 or so 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 were going to include 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.
During the show bilingual MCs introduce each piece. This 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.
What to Expect at Shen Yun in 2023
We went to opening night of Shen Yun in March of 2022. Four of us went (two adults and two teenagers). We were all very impressed! It was hard to tell who enjoyed it the most!
The first half of the show in 2022 consisted of nine performances. In between each a pair of MCs came out to introduce the next segment. One MC spoke in English and the other in Chinese. After the first nine performances there was a 15-minute intermission followed by another nine performances.
The eighteen different performances varied in style. Most of them involved beautiful costumes, dancing and stunning backgrounds. There were a few dances by just men and a few by just women. Other dances included up to about two dozen dancers of both genders. There were about three dozen dancers and other performers overall, not including members of the full orchestra.
In addition to the dancing, there were a couple of solo singing performances and one by a musician playing a Chinese string instrument with just two strings and a bow. The instrumentalist was amazing! It was simple, but so beautiful!
The dance performances each told a different story. Some were in modern times and others were set in eras long ago. The dancers’ costumes were stunning. The ladies had flowing dresses and sometimes the most elaborate sleeves. The women could spin like crazy, and the men jumped and did all kinds of flips. It was all so entertaining and exciting to watch!
The Background Stage
A very interesting element in modern Shen Yun productions is the interactive background stage. Sometimes the backdrop was simply a beautiful scene of the Chinese countryside or a village. Sometimes the scene was static, like a picture. At other times the projection included people walking and even flying.
What was most interesting and effective, however, was the way that live actors could magically jump in and out of the background stage. One minute a character was a live actor and in the next he or she was flying around on the animated background projection. That was both very unique and effective!
Overall, as always, Shen Yun was spectacular in 2022! It was creative, entertaining, beautiful, mesmerizing and both modern and traditional. If you get the chance to go in 2023, you should see it for yourself! We expect the experience to be similar.
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: Shows in North America usually sell out, 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: Shuttle service to and from the theatre is usually available from various locations throughout the Lower Mainland. Rates range between around $30 and $55 round-trip. See the Shen Yun website for details.
TIP #5: 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 #6: Each year the production is different. This makes it great for people who go every year.
TIP #7: The show is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, except for very young children. Kids ages 4 and under are not permitted.
TIP #8: 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