Where Childhood Never Dies: Peking Acrobats

TEEN AMBASSADOR: ABBEY BRANCO|  APRIL 17, 2016

There is an air of whimsy when it comes to performance art. To watch the seemingly impossible unfold before your very eyes is, in itself, completely dazzling. Childhood wonder can carry you through every death-defying act and bring you back to a time where mistakes do not occur. This feeling is prominent throughout the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center’s latest show, The Peking Acrobats, and exemplifies the performers’ talent.

Chinese traditions are complemented even from the beginning of the show as oversized, furry creatures, similar to that of the dragon costumes during Chinese festivals, bob around from row to row nipping at the audience. Pairs of acrobats skirt around the stairs and perform highly challenging and perfectly timed routines that it almost seems as if the creature, is in fact, a living, breathing being and not just two people covered with material. Every moment is absorbed by the crowd. As the performers float from pedestal to pedestal, the vast majority let out a sigh of relief as they stick the landing. The impressive nature of the show goes as far as having two people, with limited vision underneath the animal covering, balancing on an oversized ball over a shaky seesaw.

As the performers disperse from their anthropomorphic figures, a solo artist reaches the stage. Light greys and soft music center around her as she contorts her body in an almost lyrical motion. A mystifying showcase of natural finesse, there is beauty in the midst of chuckles and audible gasps from the crowd. Her back curves in on itself, one leg straightened, her hands on either side of her resting foot, head dangling just inches away from the pedestal’s floor. A stillness fills the room as she gradually levels herself completely straight.

Accompanying each performance as well, are trained musicians playing flutes and zither-like instruments to focus both the audience members and the performers. As a each member of the Peking Acrobats carried through with their act, whether it be balancing on eight full-size chairs, doing aerial stunts more than ten feet off the ground while being held by silk strips, or juggling plates, there is perfection lacing every minute.

To denounce the spectacular feats of acrobats is to turn away every moment of adrenaline and appreciation for the unbelievable. Growing up calls for the ignorance of wonderment that seems so accessible as a child. The Peking Acrobats keeps us fettered to that idea that nothing that seems impossible is indeed, out of our reach. Whatever it is we want to accomplish is there for the taking,

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