An ancient Chinese art? Really?

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

As a young boy, I always found enjoyment in the place mats at Chinese restaurants that featured the animals associated with Chinese New Year. I was fascinated that every person has personality and character traits that are the same as their animal birth sign. (I’m a Rooster by the way.) Soon, I found myself wanting to know more and more about the far away land and its people and culture. China seemed liked a country that was so exotic compared to living in Alaska that I loved learning about its traditions and history.

Acrobatics is a treasured jewel of traditional Chinese performing arts with a long and rich heritage. The art has been existent in China for more than two thousand years. By the time of the Han Dynasty (221 BC-220 AD), acrobatic art further developed both in content and variety. In the Tang Dynasty, the number of acrobats greatly increased and their performing skills improved a great deal. Today, over 100 troupes, large and small, perform all over the country. That’s what makes me so excited that we’re presenting the New Shanghai Circus this weekend. Along with the cultural aspects, the Chinese acrobats put on a show that incorporates a blend of traditional Chinese dance, dynamic modern stunts and many more extraordinary acts that will hold eyes captive and redefine what’s possible for humans to do.

The troupe is made up of the best of the best acrobatic stars, and the majority of these performers began mastering their craft as young children in the Chinese acrobat schools. The now-traveling troupe has put together an impressive line-up of contortionists, jugglers and other high-flying acts that possess a cultural flare varying from traditional to contemporary.

For several years, the acrobats have found a home in Branson, Mo., where their trademark show has won numerous art awards, including Best Show in 1999, a golden key from the city’s mayor and the Peace Award for the group’s contributions to world peace through the arts. The group also earned a special mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning more national gold, silver and bronze medals than any other acrobatic troupe.

I encourage you to check out these astonishing athletes that defy gravity and execute breathtaking feats of human ability. After you see the show, I expect you’ll want to find out what your Chinese birth animal is as well.

– ACA Marketing Director, Jason Grenn

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