China has garnered a certain reputation for grandiosity. We’re not talking Texas-style, where everything bigger is assumed to be better. No, China’s ostentation typically has to do with extreme numbers of people and their social/ political movements, public works, eye-popping spectacles and in the particular way can reach into their ancient past and root their everchanging modernity.
The Peking Acrobats are a perfect example of this phenomenon. First, the culture of Chinese acrobatics has its footing in the Ch’in Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.). Children as young as 5 are tutored for more than a decade before they even begin to reach professional status. And with more than 100,000 Chinese studying acrobatics at any one time, the few who make it into the illustrious ranks of The Peking Acrobats are truly the cream of the crop, having perfected this amazing and ever-evolving folk art form. Two thousand years of tradition demands that each new generation of acrobats adds its own style and spin on the show, constantly improving on and embellishing everything that came before.
So, with each passing year, the pagoda of chairs gets taller and the maneuvers precariously performed atop the chairs get more dangerous. These experts at wire-walking, trick-cycling, precision-tumbling, somersaulting, juggling and gymnastics virtually defy gravity and human limitations, all while accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments. The resulting act is nothing short of amazing, China style.