VIDEO: Young Faces Sparkle at Naperville Lantern Festival Show

By Yining Zhou

The Xilin Association, a Naperville-based non-profit foundation dedicated to sharing Asian cultures, held its 10th annual Lantern Festival Show Sunday evening at Compass Auditorium at Naperville.

Dancers, singers and musicians expressed the beauty and vitality of the East using the language of art and dance in the show. But the stage did not only belong to professional performers. Young faces also sparkled on the big stage.

“I feel very excited because we have been planning for a long time,” said Jackson Xin, a student at Illinois Shaolin Kung Fu. He would perform martial arts with his fellows.

Yang Chen is the instructor of the 20 kungfu students. He said he and his students were really happy to join the show. “They have been learning kungfu for about two years to six years,” Chen said. “We will perform Shaolin Kungfu, Taichi and showcase some kungfu equipment today.”

Other young performers are from Xilin Art Academy. This program at Xilin Community Center introduces teen and pre-teens to traditional concepts of Chinese culture and art. Christel Thompson performed a solo of the Chinese song “Time flies by”. She joined the academy when she was just a kid.

“I was really young. I was probably ten years old and I started there dancing and then they wanted me to sing, so I just started singing,” Thompson said. “Tonight I’m not really expecting anything but I’m hoping for the best.”

Every year Xilin Art Academy welcomes new students to the program. Shows like the annual lantern festival give them a wonderful stage to showcase their talents.

“Think about it. If your kid, who is five years old and get on the stage with the whole group performing, that kid will have a lot of self-esteem.” said Linda Yang, Executive Director of Xilin Association. “And that is really good for the kids when they grow.”

“It’s a job well done,” said Jesse White, Secretary of State. “Look at these young people. Our future is bright. We just do all we can to support them and encourage them and do all we can to help them grow tall and straight.”

It was the 10th anniversary of Xilin Lantern Festival Show. The association will continue to hold the event and other programs to promote Chinese performing art and strengthen the local community.

Photo at top: Young faces sparkle at Naperville Lantern Festival Show.(Yining Zhou/Medill)


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