The Peking Acrobats impress audiences, but they also could impress their ancestors.
“Chinese acrobatics are not new,” said Cynthia Dike-Hughes, the co-producer of The Peking Acrobats. “They are more than 2,000 years old. Acrobats from years gone by would be pleased to see the traditions carried on and still going strong. These acrobatic feats have staying power because they are a beautiful art form.”
The Peking Acrobats will perform on Feb. 16 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.
The Peking Acrobats is a troupe of tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts from the People’s Republic of China. The performers transform 2,000-year-old traditions of agility and grace into a modern-day event of entertainment. The current tour features 18 acrobats, five musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments and six Jigu drummers.
“Jigu in Chinese means to ‘beat or touch the drum,’” Dike-Hughes said. “They make music with the drums. Sometimes they will play with the acrobats, sometimes they will play with the Chinese instruments and sometimes they will play alone in the show.”
The Peking Acrobats first toured North America in 1986, so 2014 marks the troupe’s 28th North American tour.
“The show is always changing,” Dike-Hughes said. “We are always innovative. We have a combination of new performers and performers who have been with the show before. Also, there are new twists on old acts.”
The acts that The Peking Acrobats perform include jugglers and contortionists who perform incredible moves while balancing things like glasses and jars on their heads, hands, and feet. Other troupe members are plate-spinning performers who balance multiple plates on top of bamboo rods while tumbling and balancing on each other’s shoulders. In addition, special effects and lighting are added to the show to create an entertainment event that blends traditional art forms with modern technology.
“This show is a fascinating glimpse into the Orient,” Dike-Hughes said. “It is awe-inspiring. You can come to the show and forget your troubles for a while and have a wonderful evening of entertainment.”
Dike-Hughes also believes that The Peking Acrobats allow people to look at life differently.
“When you see these performers, and what they can do, it makes you want to go out and be the best you can be in your chosen field of endeavor,” she said. “There is an ongoing transference of joy.”