Stephen Herzog | Branson Tri-Lakes News
Acrobats of China
Two members of the Acrobats of China perform a ballet at Thursday's show.
Friday, April 27, 2012
By Stephen Herzog
Every act seems more impossible than the next.
The performers in the “Acrobats of China” balance on each others’ heads, spin plates and literally jump through hoops for the audience.
“We heard a guy over there say ‘No way,’” said Bill Herron, who watched the show Thursday afternoon. “We were thinking the same thing.”
The New Shanghai Circus is performing in their 15th season in Branson, entertaining audiences with shocking physical feats in the “Acrobats of China.”
Their performance, which can change several times over the course of the season, merges the traditional and the contemporary.
One act, which includes girls balancing and kicking volleyballs, is connected to tradition although it looks modern.
“The game of (soccer) is said to have started in ancient China,” said Rachel Tong Mu, the show’s emcee.
Several other acts also have connections to Chinese tradition.
The hoop diving originates from harvest time when field workers used a hoop-like tool to challenge each other by diving through. Though the show uses modern music and the performers don contemporary athletic wear.
The music and dance is also a mixture of old and new.
“It was beautiful. I loved the ballet,” said audience member Grace Jennings. “They’re very physically talented, but it was very artistic, too.”
And while they use modern elements to entertain crowds, the group leans heavily on tradition. In fact, acrobatics started during the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. And those early acrobats used whatever they could find — like plates, which are still an integral part of the act 2,000 years later.
“It’s kind of like a magic show,” Herron said. “You wonder if they’re really doing what it looks like they’re doing.”
The group performs at the New Shanghai Theatre at 645 Missouri 165 in Branson with select 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows.
Through Sunday, the theater is offering area appreciation, with tickets for Taney and Stone county residents or employees costing just $5