CHICAGO—Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, attended the evening show of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company at Chicago’s Civic Opera House Saturday, April 16. Mr. White who is also the founder and chief coach of the famous Jesse While Tumbling Team said he would encourage his friends to see Shen Yun.
New York-based Shen Yun presents China’s 5,000 years of history and civilization through classical Chinese dance and music.
While standing in the foyer, Mr. White was frequently greeted by audience members. He is in his fourth term as Illinois’s Secretary of State, and every Illinois driver probably recognizes his photo.
Mr. White was very impressed by Shen Yun and suggested that seeing the world-renowned show was both a treat and a treatment.
“It’s unbelievable! The beauty, the pageantry, the art form, the colors, and the story lines are simply wonderful. And, for the people who have not gotten to see the show, they are missing out on a treat as well as a treatment,” he said.
No other art form in the world boasts such strong, expressive qualities and diversity of technique as classical Chinese dance. Mr. White noted the dance techniques in Shen Yun’s performance, and said, “I can appreciate the tumbling because I am a gymnast, and I have a gymnastics team here in Chicago, so I appreciate what I saw.”
Classical Chinese dance is one of the world’s most comprehensive dance systems and besides special moves and postures, also comprises many challenging techniques, such as spins, leaps, flips, and turns. In, as the two Shen Yun hosts point out, flips such as those found in tumbling, originate in classical Chinese dance.
Shen Yun is also famous for its ingenious way of synchronizing different aspects of a theatrical performance. Mr. White spoke of the synchronization as an “eye-opening experience.”
“You see these wonderful bodies moving together, working together. The same thing holds true in life and I saw some wonderful things happening on stage just a moment ago. The music, the costumes, these wonderful bodies moving in sync, it’s an eye-opening experience.”
Mr. White was impressed by Shen Yun’s innovative use of backdrops, saying that he was fascinated by how well the beautiful costumes fit in with the background.
Speaking of his double identity, Mr. White said, “I’m the coach [of the Jesse White Tumbling Team] … We do about 1,500 shows a year. We have six teams. That is what I volunteer [for]. But I run the largest Secretary of State’s Office in the U.S.”
Mr. White said that in order to make sure he did not miss Shen Yun, he coached his tumbling team’s first two shows on Saturday but let his assistant coach the third.
“I had another show (tumbling) tonight but I let my Assistant Coach handle that particular show because I wanted to be here to see this wonderful, wonderful show where Chinese friends show their artistry and entertained us in a manner in which we can be proud of.”
“Everything that I saw here tonight was impressive and as I’ve said before, I’m going to share my experience with my friends and encourage them to come see this wonderful, wonderful show.”
Reported by Charlie Lu and Jeanmarie Lunsford.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Chicago’s Civic Opera House through April 24. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org