The National Acrobats of China dazzled audiences during a one-day engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in the beautiful and recently built Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Founded in 1956, this troupe has traveled throughout the world to more than 30 countries and garnered countless awards in competitions and festivals. After seeing their feats, many which defy belief, it is clear why they are so celebrated around the globe.
The opening act “Spinning Plates” featured 13 acrobats performing flips and twists while balancing spinning plates in both their hands. “Hoop Diving,” one of my personal favorites, had 12 male acrobats diving and tumbling through hoops with dynamic speed and rhythm, including a backwards flip through a hoop at least seven feet in the air. Strange, but interesting, “Straw Hats Juggling” found 10 male performers juggling, throwing, and catching straw hats of various sizes that seemed to float in the air. One act that had everyone cringing in the audience was “Contortion,” which featured a young woman flexing her body in unnatural ways. Strength was shown in “Iqarian Acrobatics,” which had men juggling other men in the air using their feet. The final act “Bicycle” featured 16 female acrobats first riding in sync on individual bicycles and then finally jumping onto one single bicycle.
Overall, the show featured an impressive display of precise movements and showmanship. It was fun to see rhythm, beauty, and eye-popping acts created out of ordinary objects from daily life such as bicycles, chairs, tables, poles, ladders, bowls, plates, bottles and jars. Still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone in the audience attempting these tricks at home.