Chinese national circus Cirque Chinois to perform flying feats and ancient tricks at Miller Auditorium
Cirque Chinois, the National Circus of the People s Republic of China, will come through Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium on Oct. 26.
By Mark Wedel
Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette The Kalamazoo Gazette
October 21, 2012
KALAMAZOO, MI -- Members of Cirque Chinois will literally bend over backwards to please a crowd.
The touring production of the National Circus of the People's Republic of China will hit, bounce from, and fly above, the Miller Auditorium stage Oct. 26.
They travel with 45 performers, who have an average age of 24, deputy director Shaojie Wu wrote through an interpreter via email.
The feats they perform obviously take much skill, and some look like they require bones made of rubber. One segment features female contortionists bending in unnatural ways as they form a pyramid four bent bodies high.
How do they do it? "It does take a lot of daily training from very early age," Wu wrote, simply.
Performers for the National Circus start training as early as age 4, the show's website states. The circus is based in Beijing; more than 500 students study the arts from plate-spinning to clowning. Most come from families with a long tradition of circus performing.
The National Circus was founded in 1953, but the tradition goes back around 3,000 years. It began as a folk art, called "the show of a hundred tricks," meant to entertain the imperial houses of China.