Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 15, 2009

Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats

Mahaiwe Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
by Amy Meek

The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats thrilled and delighted the large audience of the beautiful Mahaiwe Arts Center with a show that successfully combined amazing acrobatic feats with both colorful spectacle and humor. The troupe, which was comprised of young performers who displayed immense skill and agility, took the audience into a magical world and gave them a glimpse of Chinese cultural tradition.

Some of the highlights of the show included a chorus of female acrobats who made use of props such as spinning disks and candles to demonstrate their amazing strength, balance and flexibility. They contorted their bodies in superhuman ways while spinning and holding the objects and balancing them off different parts of their bodies. In one number, the performers were roller skating on a platform using extreme speed and precision to keep themselves on balance while getting into many formations. In "Awesome Adagio" a boy and girl danced together, and he lifted her high above his head while she balanced on his shoulder on the tip of her toe.

The use of bright colors in the show helped to create an exotic atmosphere, especially in the number "Diving Daring Do," which used five acrobats inside three Chinese dragons to enchant the audience. They made the dragons come alive and took the audience into a timeless experience of Chinese tradition. The use of scarves, flags and bright costumes also enhanced the theatricality of the performance.

Finally, the humor that the troupe used made the show a pleasure to watch. They used audience interaction and alternated the intense acrobatic moments with moments of comedy, never taking themselves too seriously. This show was truly a magical and awe-inspiring journey into an evening of suspense and wonder.