The New Shanghai Circus Comes To Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 11/15

The New Shanghai Circus, the innovative and internationally renowned troupe of Chinese acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and daredevils, brings its sold-out Broadway show to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$30 (a limited number of "Smart Seats" also are available for $10).

The group's roots date back to the Han Dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago. During that time, also known as China's imperial age, craftsmen and farmers developed their skills in juggling, acrobatics and other feats to dazzle fellow villagers at harvest festivals. By shape-shifting into human walls and pyramids, balancing one another in mid-air and contorting their torsos and limbs into unusual shapes, they became rural superstars.

The New York Times said the New Shanghai Circus performs "feats of circus art that reach literally breathtaking heights of skill," adding that it provides audiences with "entertainment in abundance." The Los Angeles Times praised its "show-stopping rarities of daunting difficulty." CBS News was succinct in its praise: "Fantastic," they said.

Touring the world since 1991, the New Shanghai Circus has received special mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning more nationAl Gold, Silver and Bronze medals than any other acrobatic troupe. Some of China's most gifted athletes, several of whom have won top prizes in national competitions, are members of the troupe.

What puts the New Shanghai Circus in a class by itself is the way it manages to both honor and transcend its rustic ancestry. Plate spinners, for example, choreograph their routines to include climbing, dance moves and feats of balance. Jugglers may use their feet to juggle a collection of unrelated items: jars, umbrellas, rugs and table, perhaps. Then there's a feat called the nose balance where a young woman balances a glass of water on her nose, covers it with a glass plate, adds four small glasses, covers them with a plate and proceeds to build a lofty, glassy structure before beginning a series of acrobatic moves and then walking across a bridge of light bulbs.

The New Shanghai Circus show is sponsored by Boar's Head and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

For more information about this show and upcoming programs at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, contact the Box Office at (941) 953-3368 or log onto www.vanwezel.org. A TV show, What's New at the Van Wezel, may be viewed online at www.sarasotagov.com.

Set along Sarasota's bayfront, the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been entertaining audiences with a variety of music, dance, theater and comedy and is celebrating its 40th Anniversary season this year. In addition to its world-class shows, the Van Wezel offers patrons the opportunity to enjoy inspired cuisine, buffet style, from Sarasota's acclaimed Michael's On East prior to most performances. For reservations and information, call 941-366-0007 or visit www.bestfood.com.

 

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