Peking Acrobats Review - Dazzle at the Harris Theater

The Peking Acrobats left Chicagoans in a dazzling state of awe and wonderment as they hit the Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennial Park for a weekend of spellbinding, gravity-defying feats as part of their 2015 North American Tour.

Peking Acrobats fill the Harris Theater with sights, movement, and sound

The troupe of China's most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers and gymnasts drew upon more than 2,000 years of tradition and culture in their famous act that’s now being enjoyed by a second generation of Americans since their 1986 debut in the Western world.

The Lion Dance opened the performance, with dazzling acrobatics, acting, and puppetry. Lions are a Chinese symbol of strength and happiness.

The all-ages show was packed with families and military folks, thanks in part to the Harris Theater’s much-appreciated winter promotion of offering select tickets at $6 as a nod to six more weeks of winter.

The Peking Acrobats set a World Record for chair balancing, and here they balance six chairs tall.

Moving forward, Harris Theater patrons will be in for an upgraded experience with the announcement of a $5 million renovation project including an expanded lobby and new high capacity elevators to whisk more people to their seats even faster.

On a bicycle built for 12, strength and balance was on full display.

With tremendous agility and grace, the Peking Acrobats created a true cirque-style carnival of trick cycling, powerful precision tumbling and other cringe-worthy maneuvers that have gained them worldwide fame on everything from televised specials to Guinness Book productions to movies, including Ocean’s 11. In addition to the audience chiming in with nonstop ooooohs and aaaaahs, live musicians played Chinese folk instruments in vibrant costumes with special effects that add extra flair to this already captivating performance.

Different acts of plate spinning and balancing dazzled the audience.

The Peking Acrobats, based in Beijing, China, bring new troupe members into the fold as young as six years old, although most are not permitted to perform until age 15 or 16. The children are given the status of “professional acrobat” and spend half their day studying, and the other half perfecting their acrobatic skills with intense daily training including exercising and stretching to maximize flexibility. Special emphasis is placed on keeping the young adults in performance-ready shape even after they’ve left the school, as well as techniques to prevent strain and injury. Those interested in learning more about the training process of The Peking Acrobats, their daily life, intricacies of specific maneuvers, as well as the legends, myths and history, can check out the troupe’s official backgrounder and study guide.

Innovative and creative feats of human balance thrilled and delighted the packed Harris Theater

For upcoming programming from the Harris Theater, visit their events calendar.

All photo credits from The Peking Acrobatics

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