McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at the College of DuPage will open 2015 with the New Shanghai Circus in an electric and entertaining evening fit for the entire family at 7:30 p.m. on January 9. Nineteen amazing athletes will astound with eye-popping acrobatic feats as they stretch the limits of human ability in a spellbinding show.
Founded in 1951 as the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre, the New Shanghai Circus has won more gold, silver, and bronze medals in domestic and international circus competitions than any other Chinese acrobatic company. Producer Zhao Lizhi founded the company in 1998 to bring young performers skilled in the Chinese arts to the United States, and in 1999, the New Shanghai Circus became the first Chinese acrobatic troupe to perform on Broadway.
Ancient stone carvings, earthen pottery and early written work trace the Chinese acrobatic tradition of tumbling, balancing and juggling dates back to 700 B.C. These arts developed out of the Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, where the village’s peasants and craftsmen would hold an ostensible Chinese Thanksgiving. Acrobats would use household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop as part of their exciting feats. Performers passed their skills down from generation to generation and great acrobatic families of China entertained everyone from city rulers to village people, performing at ceremonial carnivals and public theaters across the country.
Over the years, as China experienced economic and social upheaval, many traditional arts were lost and acrobats found their art on the verge of extinction. Since the Revolution in 1949, the government has made great efforts to foster and develop traditional arts and culture in China, and acrobatics has enjoyed a resurgence.
The New Shanghai Circus will bring their time-honored craft to the MAC on January 9 in a gravity-defying show that will likely take your breath away. The performance will be preceded by a free MAC Chat at 6:30 p.m. that will offer a glimpse behind the scenes at the astounding acrobatic company.
For more information or for tickets, visit AtTheMAC.org.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The New Shanghai Circus will come to The MAC at the College of DuPage on January 9, 2015 (photo courtesy of the McAninch Arts Center (MAC))