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of silence and pause being for the most tension-filled maneuvers.” One thing that sets this production apart from other acrobatic shows is that this one tells a story. It’s a love story, really, about a boy and a beautiful fairy phoenix. Early in the show, the boy has a dream in which he encounters the phoenix as she flies over the sea, her wings splashing along the rolling waves. In his dream, the boy is fascinated by the phoenix and runs into the water to follow the enchanted creature. Touched by the boy’s courage, the phoenix invites him to fly with her, heading up to the sun for warmth then down to explore the mysteries of the sea. On this journey, our young hero encounters songbirds, clowns, flying hats and other assorted surprises. But there is evil lurking. Still, it’s a world of vivid colors, artfully employed lights and shadows, and, of course, performers whose jaw-dropping athleticism will leave you breathless. The music (which is recorded) varies from movement to movement, alternately ethereal, combative or triumphant. While the show’s acrobatics require performers with circus skills, the love story at the center of the production is as important to the overall experience as any other element. Says Zhao Shuangwu: “The story also explores the triumph of good over evil, and the indomitable spirit to win.”  –Jay Boyar

The 40-member Shanghai Acrobats deliver a memorably colorful and energetic show.

EVENT: Shanghai Nights DATE/TIME: Thursday, December 1, 8 p.m. VENUE: Walt Disney Theater NOTES: The Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China, which was founded in 1959 and tours the world, presents a colorful and inspiring fantasy. TICKETS: Prices start at $35. 844.513.2014 •

DID YOU KNOW? Chinese acrobats tend to emphasize balance and flexibility more than the troupes in Russia or the West. This may be due to the influence of martial arts styles, which emphasize those skills. Many Chinese acrobats hone their skills by practicing martial arts exercises such as tai chi or kung fu.


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artsLife | WINTER 2016

artsLife Winter 2016  
artsLife Winter 2016