The Peking Acrobats Perform at Southern Theatre Tonight
The Peking Acrobats push the envelope of human possibility with their tremendous skill and ability. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs, are experts at trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting, and gymnastics, defy gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control, and astonish audiences with their juggling dexterity and incredible balancing feats. These masters of agility and grace create an exuberant event with all the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival.
As an added treat for their 2014 North American Tour, THE PEKING ACROBATS are joined on stage by drum and percussion virtuosos, Jigu! Thunder Drums of China. Hailing from the Shanxi Province in China, this world-renown company of drummers, percussionists, and musicians has toured North America many times before, and thrilled audiences around the globe with their awe-inspiring performances. Audiences will be immersed in a wonderland of sight and sound, swept away by the incredible drumming power and astounding musicianship displayed by the talented performers of Jigu!
CAPA presents The Peking Acrobats at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.) tonight, February 12, at 8 pm. Tickets are $25-$40 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
This performance is made possible through the generous support of 2013-14 CAPA season sponsor American Airlines.
Many of the magnificent acrobatic acts we see today, despite their sophistication, were performed in ancient times. The history of Chinese acrobatics is rich in tradition and dates back more than 2,000 years. Originally, court entertainments were formal and monotonous, quite the opposite of the lively, folk arts of the people. And, it did all begin with folk arts-tumbling, juggling ordinary household objects, and balancing.
Eventually, however, the excitement of the acrobats' amazing feats caught on and held the attention of the ruling classes. Acrobatic performers were routinely invited to the court to entertain and impress visiting dignitaries. The varied acts of tumbling, singing, dancing, and juggling became known as "The Hundred Entertainments" during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). Records of acrobatic acts can be found as early as the Ch'in Dynasty (221 B.C. - 207 B.C.), and Chinese acrobats through the ages have continued to perfect what has become an evolving folk art form.
Tradition demands that each generation of acrobats add its own improvements and embellishments. Generations of families have carried on this highly acclaimed and popular tradition. Children begin training at a young age and adhere to a rigorous training schedule which they follow over the length of their careers. Today, the acrobat in China is considered an artist. Because of the unusual and difficult nature of the feats involved, high honor is conferred upon those skilled enough to become acrobats.
Over the years, The Peking Acrobats have been featured on numerous television shows including "The Wayne Brady Show," "That's Incredible," ABC's "Wide World of Sports," and NBC's "Ring in the New Year Holiday Special." They appeared on Nickelodeon's hit show "Unfabulous" and "Ellen's Really Big Show" hosted by comedian and talk show host, Ellen Degeneres. They set the world record for the human chair stack on FOX's "Guinness Book" primetime TV show, balancing six people atop six chairs 21 feet up without safety lines. Internationally, they appeared on "ArtistGalla," a benefit show broadcast live across Norway and filmed at the Drammens Theatre in Oslo. On recent European tours, they appeared on RAI TV in Italy, and "Zapp Live" and "Limburg Vandaag" TV shows in Holland.
The Peking Acrobats were also featured on the silver screen, as former company members were featured in director Stephen Soderbergh's hit film Ocean's 11. Alumnus Qin Shaobo also appeared in the film's two blockbuster sequels, Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13.
The Peking Acrobats continue to perform for symphony concert audiences across North America. They have returned to the Hollywood Bowl for four separate appearances over the last 10 years. Concerts such as these have led to many other performances with symphony orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to name a few. The Peking Acrobats will perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in April 2014.
THE PEKING ACROBATS have also expanded their reach into the European market. For the past six years, they have toured throughout the continent and visited such countries as Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. They have traveled to several of these countries two and three times over the years, visiting many exciting cities such as Milan, Bologna, Naples, Bruges, Amsterdam, and The Hague.
Photo credit: Tom Meinhold Photography