Chinese Acrobatics – a daily act in Wuqiao, China. (Photo Courtesy: Wuqiao Acrobatic Troupe)
Led by Asian Media Access, collaborated with East Culture Center, Pan Asian Arts Alliance and Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center, a unique Chinese acrobatic performance – “Fenmo – The Beauty of the Acrobatics” was presented by the Wuqiao Acrobatic Team during the holiday season at Burnsville Performing Arts Center and the St. Paul Great Hall.
These performances bring in an unique holiday celebration with Chinese authentic art form.
“Fenmo” is jointly presented by the two top rated performing groups from China – Jiangsu Performing Arts Group and China Wuqiao Acrobatic Troupe – the birthplace of the Chinese Acrobatic. The Show has opened with the Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center’s “Happy Together”, with red fans, red costume, and red all over the stage, it’s the best dance to open up the Holiday Celebration.
Followed by the Lion Dance, three lovely lions performed breathtaking acrobatics, such as: high jumping, walking on the ball and over the seesaw. Next the young teenage girl appeared on the stage, only to surprise everyone with her Feet Juggling acts.
Acrobatic feet juggling is one of the most traditional techniques performed in Chinese acrobatic programs. The performer lies on her back with her two feet in the air. Her two feet act like two pedals which can turn and rapidly rotate various objects freely.
It is a skill combining super human strength, nimble dexterity and speed. Her performance has won the Fifth China Wuqiao International Acrobatics Art Festival Silver Lion Award.
To the audience surprise, Iny Asian dance Theater presented “Dancing Flower,” where all dancers combine with their graceful hand/feet movement. The act exhibited explosive physical skills of jumping, flipping to present a unique dance that integrates with acrobatics.
Two actors dressed like cooks to perform all kinds of kitchen tricks with pots, plates and basketballs to demonstrate their brilliant interpretation of a life story. Another group dance, Peacock Dance, smoothed the audience tension, and successfully portrayed a graceful and beautiful Peacock alive on stage.
This was followed by the “Changing Face” actor, which was performed in Peking Opera face. The actress quickly twisted the head, waved her hand, and what audience experience were the instant changes of faces including black face, white face, painted face, red-face, ghost face, human face and the pull out of a dozen different faces.
According to research, the fastest face artists can change a face in 1/270th of a second. The faces can be the mighty righteousness, or grim horror or funnily amused.
The actress walked to the audience and it seemed that no one could see the slightest flaws throughout her performance. The audience was only amazed and speechless after watching her beautiful face appearing at the last, and realized how young and skillful she was.
This amazing performance continued seamlessly without a break into an acrobat act with large and small hoops, stacked and piled on the ground. The performers were running back and forth, jumping, tumbling and showing other physical skills.
Sometimes, the performers are like flying dragonflies wiping their wings on the surface of water. Sometimes they jump from five meters above the ground into the sky over the next circle.
The acrobats were fast paced, and having the audience believe each climax was the finale only to be continued by another just as full of excitement. The success or failure of making it through the circle occurs in the blinking of an eye.
The acrobats left the audience breathless right up to the intermission. The Rolling Lantern was up. This soft-based skills act challenged the limits of the body’s flexibility. Acrobats performed a variety of difficult moves to combine with the candles sets on her feet, hands, mouth, and showed the rich dynamic rhythm with changing body language.
Such physical wonders could only be followed by the creative Flower Jar Juggling act, one of China’s outstanding traditional acrobatics demonstrations. An actor uses his forehead to hold a flowerpot with a 14 pound porcelain cylinder. Starting with the head, then a hand toss, and another cylinder rotated 360 degrees, the actor concludes by catching it on his head.
This amazing performance was invited to Singapore on behalf of China National Acrobatic Troupe. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was so impressed, and met the performers in person and gave their highest praise.
A team of six actors appeared to perform the Straw Hat Juggling, through throwing hats, catching with different parts of their bodies, or exchanging hats between members. One act after another amazed the audience with one gasp after another.
Last but not the least – both the Ribbon Dance and Kung Fu Demonstration followed to gave the audience a different impression of the group power. It left a perfect ending for the ‘Fenmo – the Beauty of Acrobatics” performance.
After each performance the troupe interacted with adults and children, and performed more informal and humorous crowd pleasing acts. This successfully concluded their holiday tour in the United States.
This event is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
Other major sponsors include: General Mills Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Target Foundation. For more information or arrange school tickets, please contact Asian Media Access at 612-376-7715 or visit www.panasianartsalliance.org.